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May 2, 2013

Rough Start for 2013 Planting Season

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

No one ever said farming was easy, but Mother Nature is giving planting season a rough start. American Farm Bureau economist Bob Young explains how in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:It doesn’t take a meteorologist to determine that much of the country is in a weird weather pattern right now. At least according to American Farm Bureau chief economist Bob Young.
Young:We’ve got the floods not just along the Illinois and the Mississippi Rivers, but also up north in Fargo and North Dakota areas as well. We’ve also seen continued very, very cool temperatures extending all the way down. We’ve actually got some frost warnings that could affect Arkansas even. To talk about frost warnings May 1 in Arkansas and Oklahoma and Texas, that just never happens. Over 1,400 weather stations reported record low temperatures last week. If that doesn’t give you some clue as tojust exactly how extensive this situation is, they ranged from Washington state to the panhandle of Florida.
Miller:So why is that a big deal? Young says frost could hurt the nation’s wheat crop and it’s pushing back corn planting for a big part of the country.
Young:You’ve got to go back to 1984 to find a year where we were as late getting a crop in the ground as we are right now. It’s a big deal because in order for corn seed to actually mature and do something it needs soil temperatures of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Right now that 50 degree Fahrenheit soil temp line is about mid- Missouri. Ordinarily we’d like that to be at this point in time well up into Iowa, if not up into Minnesota, etc. We need things to warm up and dry out so we can get out in the field and get to work.
Miller:Why the rush? Because you don’t want your corn pollinating when it’s hot and dry. The longer you wait, the more likely that is to happen. But Young says it’s too early to worry.
Young:Because of the technology that we have in place today, the equipment that we have in place today we can plant this crop in a real hurry. So I don’t think it’s yet time for us to all go off in a panic.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:Newsline is updated Mondays and Thursdays by 5pm Eastern. Thank you for listening.

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