Cold weather delays planting for farmers

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Local farmers are growing concerned as rain and cold weather delay the planting of corn and rice.

"These extremely cold temperatures we've been having, outside of the few warm days we've had, has not let the soil warm up enough to be able for us to start planting and have germination," Branon Theisse, Staff Chair at the Craighead County University of Arkansas Agriculture Extension Office, said.

The critical temperature for corn and rice is 50 degrees.

The dry fall did help farmers get a lot of field prep work done early this year, but getting the proper conditions is the struggle that area farmers are facing right now.

Only about 400 of Craighead County's roughly 338,000 acres of farmland have been planted so far.

"Our planting date studies for rice and corn show that the earlier we plant the better the yields are over the long-term," Theisse said. "That's not to say we can't have some later planted fields that do very well. It all depends on the weather later in the growing season."

Farmers in the more southern sections of the state have missed some of the rain, so Theisse said they have had more luck with early planting.

Since farmers can't control the weather, Theisse said they try to control every variable they can and make the best of what they are given.

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