Time to plant? Farmers weigh options in unseasonably warm springFor the second straight year, dates associated with crop insurance coverage are on farmers’ minds. The difference is a year ago farmers were rushing to get crops in the ground before the final planting deadline. This year farmers are waiting until the early planting dates have passed.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
For the second straight year, dates associated with crop insurance coverage are on farmers’ minds.
The difference is a year ago farmers were rushing to get crops in the ground before the final planting deadline. This year farmers are waiting until the early planting dates have passed.
“We’ve had a few farmers around Edgeley doing barley and wheat,” said Al Ulmer, LaMoure County extension agent. “They need to remember the crop insurance dates.”
Crops planted before the early date set by crop insurance are not eligible for replanting payments if it is damaged by weather conditions before the final crop planting date, according to Doug Hagel, regional director of the Risk Management Agency.
“There are different dates from north to south,” he said. “Dates vary depending on the crop and location.”
Ulmer said the date had passed for small grains planting in LaMoure County although the early planting date is April 15 for corn and May 1 for soybeans.
“Small grains are always good to get in as early as possible,” he said. “But this is a corn and soybeans area now and they can plant all the small grains in a short time with the large equipment.”
Early planting can have benefits and disadvantages.
“Some people are getting a little excited because there is a potential to grab a few more growing degrees,” said Greg Endres, area specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center. “But blizzards can occur well into April. The risk with early planting is if the weather deteriorates.”
Endres said farmers can use the early time in the field to take care of tillage and fertility.
“There is a lot of fertilizer work being taken care of in the next couple weeks,” he said. “That is lower risk compared to seeding a crop this early.”
Ulmer said soil temperatures are approaching levels that would allow seed germination.
“The bare soil temperature Wednesday was 43 degrees,” he said, referring to a reading taken at LaMoure. “Small grains germinate around 45 degrees.”
That means some small grain seeds will not germinate immediately.
“Seed treatments can be important in this type of year,” Ulmer said. “Seed treatments prevent decay or insect damage to the seeds lying in the ground until the conditions are right to germinate.”
Along with warmer temperatures to increase soil temperatures, Ulmer said a little rain would be helpful.
“The moisture is still good in the subsoil,” he said. “But the top 6 inches could use an inch of rain.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org