Planting underway in parts of Texas


By Jessica Domel

Cooler, wetter weather kept Central Texas farmers out of the field for weeks, but then led to a rush to get seed in the ground before another cold front moved through the area this week.

Tyler Coufal, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent for Williamson County, told the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Radio Network those who could get in the fields last week did.

“There are a few places along Brushy Creek and those areas that are still pretty soggy, and maybe along the roadsides, but for the most part, people have been able to get into the fields a little bit–at least more so than they were this fall and wintertime,” Coufal said.

Some farmers in the Central Texas area try to start planting around Valentine’s Day, while others wait until the end of the month or early March.

Farmers who still had wet or unprepared fields last week are likely to face another delay this week due to cold soil temperatures.

The cold front could affect fields that have already been planted if there’s a hard freeze.

“I think for the producers who were planting, the seed may have enough warmth in the soil or enough cushion in the soil for it to not have much of an impact on it,” Coufal said. “If anybody happened to get it in real early, which I don’t know if that’s the case in Williamson County, and if there is any sort of growth above the soil, then that could be a real big issue for those producers.”

Starting the crop year off with wet conditions could be good for corn growers, but it could also be bad.

“That is yet to be determined. I think with the wet conditions, if we get the right drying spell or we get the right small amount of rain as time goes on, I think that could be very beneficial for the corn,” Coufal said. “If we get a lot of heavy rain, then that’s probably going to cause maybe a bigger issue than we had last year when we didn’t have any rain.”

Coufal said it depends on how much rain the area receives going forward and then after farmers are able to get the crop in the ground.

There will be more corn planted in Williamson County this year, Coufal predicts, based on what he’s heard from farmers, seed company representatives and others.

“Last year, I think we had about 96,000–give or take a few–acres planted in corn. I do think that we’ll be closer to that 100,000-acre mark this year,” Coufal said.

The number of days left of corn available globally is slightly down.

“We still have quite a bit of that to use, but if you’re taking China and those things out of the equation, we are at a level lower than what we have been previously. That is on people’s mind,” Coufal said. “I think with the year last year, I think there’s a little less risk involved, maybe, on the corn side of things, and I think people may be trying to catch a little bit of an uptick of price and those sorts of things.”

Corn planting is also underway in the Upper Gulf Coast and South Texas.
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