It has been a slow start for agriculture producers this spring compared to last season.
David Meneely, executive director of the Livingston County Farm Service Agency, said around one-third of the corn crop had already been planted by this time last year. He attributes that to more favorable weather conditions.
"Last year, we had an earlier spring," Meneely explained. "We probably would have already had about 30 percent of the corn already planted. This year, we seem to be in more of a normal cycle."
According to long-term yield studies by the University of Missouri, May 10 is prime time to plant corn in this area. Meneely explained some producers may choose to plant later, but it creates a shorter season and smaller yields.
Meneely said only 1-2 percent of the corn crop had been planted at this time. While few producers have made their way into the fields, preparations are being made. Meneely said there are two main issues currently keeping producers out of the fields.
"We have a little excess moisture in the top soil," Meneely said. "Of course, you can see the bottom fields that are flooded. The ground temperature also isn't warm enough yet. If we get sunshine and 70 degree days, it warms up quickly. By the time it gets dried out, the soil temperature won't be a problem."
Meneely expects decent planting conditions in the elevated hill fields within the next week. The bottom fields should be ready in the next 10-14 days. Those projections depend on warm, sunny conditions like the ones Livingston County experienced Thursday.
Meneely said Livingston County producers planted 100,000 acres of soybeans, 35,000 acres of corn and 10,000 acres of winter wheat last season. Meneely said numbers for winter wheat, a crop planted in October and harvested around July, are up substantially from last year.
"Wheat acreage is actually double from what it was last year," Meneely said. "Market price was good, and the fall planting season was good for winter wheat."
With corn prices doing well recently, Meneely projects corn acreage will also increase this season. This is good, considering corn was the crop that was hurt the worst from last year's drought.