Wet conditions and cool temperatures have farmers itching to get planters rolling in southeast Kansas. With temperatures warming and fields drying, it’s finally time to begin farming again.
To celebrate planting season, Wildcat District Extension crop production specialist James Coover reports in-field progress in the Four States.
While the winter of 2018 seemed endless in southeast Kansas, field conditions are similar to previous years, with the cold and wet conditions trending close to average.
“Oddly enough, the winter was a little bit wetter than average but not significantly so,” Coover said. “A large part of the ground conditions are due to the cold delaying evaporation.”
As soil temperatures rise and fields dry, Coover suggested corn planting would commence as soon as conditions are right.
“We’re warming up pretty quickly so as soon as it gets dry enough to plant we’re looking at corn going in the ground,” Coover said.
Wetter weather would have been a welcomed problem in 2018, with dry conditions after planting impacting germination, Coover said. While planting in 2019 might be delayed a few days for some operations, field conditions could prevent some producers from jumping the gun on planting.
“Last year was very dry and so it could be that some of the corn just didn’t germinate,” Coover said. “Also, we had a hard freeze around this time last year, so any of the corn that was planted the last week in March — which might be too early but is fairly normal for here — was impacted.”
Field conditions have also had an impact on the timing of fertilizer and anhydrous applications. Many fields continue to be treated with fertilizers and anhydrous prior to planting, and Coover cautioned producers to be monitoring and aware of their soil fertility moving forward.
“We’ve had a wet winter and so we’re pretty much starting over with nitrogen,” Coover said. “Nothing is carrying over like it might have last year.”
Winds shifting in from the south on the heels of a wet winter spells trouble for wheat producers, as airborne pathogens like stripe rust move their way into the area.
“This is the time of year where people with wheat need to start monitoring,” Coover said. “Rust wouldn’t have gotten here yet because it has been too cool, but in Texas they’ve had a fairly wet winter similarly to what we’ve had and that’s when rust really starts to blow in.”
While signs of rust may not appear yet, Coover cautioned producers to be aware of the problems they might pose, especially with this year’s conditions.
“We plant a lot of Everest around here and while the variety is good on several kinds of rust, it’s not as effective against stripe rust,” Coover said. “That’s one thing to watch because with these conditions it could become a real issue.”
While soybean planting may be waiting in the wings, Coover suggested producers begin considering their preplant and soil fertility strategies soon.
“It’s time to start thinking about preplant applications of herbicides,” Coover said. “It’s not quite time to do that yet, but those weeds will be germinating very soon.”