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Weather intensifies mid-South acreage battle

Agriculture.com Staff 04/10/2008 @ 1:15pm

JACKSON, Mississippi (Agriculture Online) -- Following a week of traveling through the mid-South states of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, it's evident the next two weeks of crop weather will be crucial to this year's planting season.

For instance, parts of northeast Arkansas has received between 15 and 16 inches of rain above normal this spring.

Dustin Engler, a certified crop advisor (CCA) tells the Agriculture Online Crop Tech Tour that producers in his area would really like to get corn planted if time allows.

"We have only about one-third of our corn planted, and very little rice," Engler says. "Corn planting efforts will continue until April 30, if its not in by then the producers will switch to rice or soybeans."

Engler says the flooding has been so severe in northeast Arkansas that some producers' grain bins have been flooded. "If they have April delivery on some of that crop, it's going to be a hardship."

In West Tennessee, the theme of a wet planting season mirrors Arkansas. In my two days of traveling through this area, there were very few fields planted and no tractors running.

Andy Rowsey, a CCA for Mid-South Farmer's Co-op in West Tennessee, says five inches of rain in the last two weeks has left planters in the shed.

"If producers don't get their corn in the ground by April 1 they will switch to soybeans and cotton," Rowsey says. "It's the wettest been in 3-4 years."

West Tennessee producers that were able to get in their fields in March have seen slow plant emergence.

In Mississippi, planting delays may cause another headache for soybean growers. For instance, if intended corn acres have to be switched to soybeans, producers may not have enough soybean seed to cover their needs.

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