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Southern Corn Planting Creeps Forward

Better weather has pushed planting progress forward in Southern states, but corn planting is still well behind the five-year average.

In Mississippi, only 4% of corn planting is completed compared to the five-year average of 39%, according to the USDA NASS report for the week ending March 29.

“Anxious producers jumped around on the few and scattered dry spots in the county to get some corn in the ground,” says Preston Aust, an Extension agent from Humphreys County in Mississippi. “With more rain in the forecast, they weren’t taking any chances on having some March corn planted. What the rain does this week will tell the tale on corn planting for 2015.”

The same story rings true in Louisiana with 16% of corn acres planted, falling considerably behind the 81% five-year average. However, improved weather is opening up the planting window.

“With weather improving considerably, with lots of sunshine and wind, the soil is drying out to working condition,” says Henry Harrison, an Extension agent from Washington Parish in Louisiana.

Texas made some progress over the past few weeks with 20% of corn acres planted, although this is still trailing the five-year average of 43%.

“There are tractors working fields and getting ready to plant,” says Dan Bradshaw, Crop Aid AG Consultants in El Campo, Texas. “Some farmers are already planting. We are back in business.”

There are some farmers who are wondering if it’s too late or will be too late to plant corn, says Bradshaw. “However, most already have fertilizer out, so they are going to go ahead and plant,” he adds.

More farmers are eyeing sorghum, thanks to higher premiums and the delayed corn planting. According to the USDA prospective plantings report, sorghum acres will increase 11%, up to 7.9 million acres, this year.

“If the rain pattern continues and planting is delayed, there will likely be a shift to plant more grain sorghum,” explains Bradshaw.

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