Growers of early-planted corn on pins and needles

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Early spring’s cold hand has made for a little nervousness among Arkansas farmers who planted corn at the beginning of March, extension staff chairs in Chicot and Desha counties said Monday.

The earliest corn planting reported this year was March 4 in Chicot County, with a very small percentage emerged. In 2012, an early warmup prompted farmers in that county to begin planting in late February.

“I have gotten a lot of calls this morning,” said Gus Wilson, Chicot County extension staff chair for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Everyone is on pins and needles.”

In neighboring Desha County, Extension Staff Chair Wes Kirkpatrick said although “corn is pretty resilient, the forecast cold temperatures make me a little nervous.”

The National Weather Service forecast shows a low of 28 for Monday night and a low of 31 for Tuesday night with a slow warming trend into the weekend.

“I have no doubt that we will have to replant some acres,” he said. “How many is anyone’s guess.”

Both Kirkpatrick and Wilson said how the corn fares through this week’s cold snap depends on a variety of factors including planting depth, planting date, soil type, soil moisture and if the corn has emerged.

“If it’s going to be cold, you want the ground to be wet instead of dry,” Wilson said. “And we are wet – not a lot of flooding – just some of the low areas.”

“Overall, we should be OK,” Kirkpatrick said, adding, “Only time will tell where we stand.”

Last year in Arkansas, farmers harvested 690,000 acres of corn.



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