Planting Season in Full Swing

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Ramiro Lopez discs the ground (right) as Doug Ingram plants cotton (left) on the Ahlf farm north of Rector, which is farmed by David Cagle.(TD photo/Jessica Rainwater)

Clay County farmers are off to an early start planting this year, Clay County Extension agent Andy Vangilder said in his last interview in the position prior to his retirement.

"There was so much time to prepare last fall getting the ground ready many farmers already finished planting," Vangilder said. However, early planting and some in just a two week period may cause some issues at harvest time. It's impossible to harvest several crops at the same time without one or another getting a little past where it needs to be, he said.

At the moment everything is going great though, the weather is cooperating and has allowed one of the earliest planting seasons in years.

Vangilder warns it's still early and there are many independent variables throughout a growing season.

Corn went in the ground at the last of March and beginning of April. The very early corn is doing well. Some had to be replanted after the three-inch rain a few weeks ago. What survived and was planted two weeks ago looks good and some farmers are getting ready to spray herbicides as the plants are sprouting.

Rice went in fast and not much replanting was needed. "Some did have to be flushed to get it up, but most came up with the rain and made a good stand -- very early for the rice crop," Vangilder said. "There may be a few acres not planted, but the majority is."

Cotton planting has begun, too. The unusually warm temperatures throughout April allowed many to begin planting April 20, which Vangilder said was perfect. "We recommend a good soil temp of about 65 degrees and area farmers have been able to get about 70 to 75 percent of the annual cotton percentage planted," he said. "Some cotton is already up and standing."

Several farmers have already finished planting soybeans, as well. With rain variances across the county, those who had less rain have been able to plant more.

"We are way ahead of the last few years and it's just now May," Vangilder said. "With everything going in so quickly we don't know exactly how much of what we have county-wide yet, but this has been one of the best planting seasons."

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