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Corn farmers enjoy nice weather

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi’s 2010 corn crop is off to a promising start after recent sunny skies and favorable soil conditions gave farmers a chance to plant and manage their fields.

“The nice weather during the past week has allowed a tremendous amount of field work to get done, particularly in North Mississippi where farmers can finally begin planting corn,” said grain crops agronomist Erick Larson of the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “This was the first good weather that many farmers have had in a while.”

Corn planting is rapidly concluding in many areas of the state where rainfall has been light for a few weeks. Young corn plants are growing quickly in response to warm weather, and growers are applying fertilizer and preparing for the next phase of production.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts Mississippi will be one of eight states to increase corn acreage in 2010. The planting intentions report estimate for the state corn crop is 800,000 acres.

Mississippi farmers planted 720,000 acres of corn in 2009 and harvested 695,000 acres. They averaged 126 bushels per acre on that crop and $4 on each bushel.

“Rains, especially in the Corn Belt, delayed planting and pushed prices higher during the first part of 2009,” said Extension agricultural economist John Michael Riley. “Nearly ideal weather in late June and July brought corn prices down, but they recovered when more rains and snow in some areas of the country occurred during harvest.”

Corn continues to be an attractive crop for Mississippi, and there are signs that corn can be produced for a profit. But the disparity between corn, soybean and cotton prices has evened out lately, Riley said.

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