MISSISSIPPI DELTA — Faced with the possibility with a late planting season due to the harsh winter weather, farmers throughout the region are planning their strategy and preparing their equipment to make sure they are ready to go when the weather allows.
“Farmers are looking at the winter we’re having and there’s definitely some concern about whether the first plantings are going to be pushed back, particularly in the case of soybeans,” said Bubba Cooper of Delta Group, a farm equipment dealer with six Mississippi locations. “When the time comes they want to be able to get in the fields quickly.”
Farmers are looking to plant more soybeans due in part to lower corn prices and the preferred time to plant soybeans is early to mid-April when most areas have experienced their final frost. Unfortunately, if farmers are forced to push planting back to late April or May, it takes away some of the effectiveness of early planting.
Earlier planting has a number of benefits for Mississippi farmers, including increased soybean yields. Being able to get in the fields to plant as early as possible also reduces the risk of damaging infestations of both foliage and pod-feeding insects while also avoiding a late-season harvest when the crops are more susceptible to the effects of severe weather such as heavy rains or even hurricanes.
Coming off last year when planting was late, the soybean crop ranged from still being seed in the bag to R3 as late as the end of June, and reaching 50 percent planted occurred in the very end of May or the first week of June instead of the first week of May; farmers are focused on avoiding equipment problems that will slow down their productivity in the field.