Drought conditions affecting planting season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The late winter and early spring months of 2017 brought weather less than ideal for planting. Some farmers had warmer soil temperatures and enough moisture to plant corn several weeks ago, while others are still waiting for rain to boost soil moisture levels.

More than 90 percent of the state is already in a drought situation as May begins. Unsurprisingly, the rains in late April were spotty and scattered. Alabama Extension regional crops agents and specialists are hopeful the coming rains will refresh the ground and bring moisture so farmers can begin planting.

South Alabama Planting Update

Alabama Extension crops specialist William Birdsong said rain is needed to really kick off the planting season in the Wiregrass.

“Dry soil conditions have hindered planting here as well,” Birdsong said. “The planted corn looks very good and farmers are spraying to control weeds. Producers are also making fertilizer applications.”

Most of the corn in the Wiregrass area has irrigation, and farmers have already begun watering.

Birdsong said very little cotton and peanuts have been planted. Farmers are hopeful this year, but getting a spring planting rain is critical to the beginning of this crop season.

“The longer the delay, the more critical conditions will get,” he said.