Farmers could be earlier in the field this spring if predications made by the US Climate Prediction Centre are correct. More then 60% of the lower 48 states are continuing to experience dry spells and this is expected to persist throughout February in most places.
With Hurricane Sandy, combined with a cold front, improved the drought conditions in the Midwest and eliminated them in the Northeast. Several states still remain short of moisture in topsoil, which has farmers concerned for the upcoming planting season.
As many farmers know, if soil is adequately soaked from rainfall in the spring, it enhances root system development and can support crop growth well into the summer months. Soil with better moisture-holding capacity benefit more from rainfall prior to planting season.
For certain crops it depends on the soil type and timing of water stress. Corn is most susceptible to drought during its silking and flowering periods, soybeans are more susceptible to drought later in the growing cycle.
Planting early-maturing varieties as soon as the soil temperature and moisture permit allows plants to take in moisture from the soil before they’re exposed to summer heat. Although, farmers who choose to plant early need to review their crop insurance policies as some do not pay for replant coverage if crops are planted before a particular date. It’s also important to note that crops should be planted when seedbed conditions are favourable.
Related website: Climate Prediction Center
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