By Tim Fritz, King’s General Manager
The Weather Channel released its spring forecast on March 2nd, and the below average temperature weather pattern that we have been in all winter is forecasted to continue below average for March through May. Of course this is a just a forecast, but let’s think about the spring planting windows and how they may be impacted.
For cool season spring seeded crops such as alfalfa, clovers, grasses and small grains, this cool forecast would indicate that the typical seeding date windows can be extended beyond normal cut offs. As seeding dates approach, we need to be weather sensitive by looking at long range forecasts and using good old-fashioned farmer intuition. For cool season crops, we need to get the plant well established before the heavy heat of summer moves in. Obviously, the risk of a late calendar date seeding is that the weather pattern makes a radical change and we skip cooler spring weather and jump right into the heat of summer.
For warm season crops such as corn sorghums, sudans, millets and teff, please keep in mind that the minimum soil temperatures that need to be sustained are 50F for corn and 60 to 65F for the other crops listed. The soil temperature is to be taken at 1.5” to 2” depth and checked early in the morning. Seed with confidence when a steady warming trend is in the forecast.
This winter has been excessively cold and wet. Take time to evaluate your crops for winter injury. Pay close attention to low areas and exposure to high winds or lack of snow cover. Hopefully, the crops will come through the winter in good shape. If the fields are severely damaged, start making plans for alternative crops if needed.
Note: The weather pattern for this winter was set up by thunderstorms in Malaysia that are still persistent in that region, causing “waves” in the atmosphere that has been causing the western US to be well above normal temperatures and the eastern 2/3 of the US to be colder than normal. It is fascinating how the weather from one part of the world can impact another