From the Ground Up - "Wet Fields Delay Corn Planting"

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The frequent rains that began late last summer and continued through fall and into last month hampered farmers’ efforts to work their fields and get ready to begin planting this year’s crops. Ricky Herbrith grows dry land corn in Fayette County.

“Usually we try to put out our phosphate and pot ashes out, hopefully in October of the year before and it just didn’t, the weather didn’t cooperate with us again. So we kind of got behind on that. Then we finally got most of it in. Then we got rained out. Then I believe we waited another month and we got the rest of it in and then we come and put our nitrogen out and we did that all at the same time. I guess it was in January already.”

Herbrith says getting corn planted as early as possible is important to avoid any heat stress on the plant before the ear is formed.

“We probably could have planted in January if Mother Nature wouldn’t have been so wet to us. We usually shoot for the second week in February.”

Herbrith still has about half of his corn to plant. Farmers have to be optimistic and try to combat low prices with higher than average yields.

“I would say in our area our average yield would probably be eighty, eighty-five bushels. We fertilize and shoot for like a hundred thirty-five to a hundred and forty bushels”

And Herbrith says that if you pass a field of non-food grade corn and think that that farmer’s not helping to feed you, you’re mistaken.

“I would say ninety-nine per cent of our corn either goes to our cattle or we take it to a local feed mill and then they make feed out of it so in other words it might go to chickens, it might go to a dairy. It might go to a feed lot. It all boils down to I am feeding them even though it’s not food grade corn. I’m a hundred percent involved in feeding them.”