Wet winter weather plagues farmers

Published 1:02 am Monday, March 15, 2010

VIDALIA — Normally, this time of year planting is well under way, but this year many of Concordia Parish’s farmers are having to deal with the lingering effects of a very wet winter.

“This weather we have had has got us running behind,” Monterey farmer Greg Poole said.

“If we don’t get some dry weather in the next 10 days to two weeks, we are going to have a lot of corn that doesn’t go in.”

This year’s weather has been affected by the periodic El Niño climate pattern, which has resulted in wetter-than-normal weather.

And wetter-than-normal weather means wetter-than-normal ground.

Those wet conditions meant that, as farm workers were trying to get last year’s crops out of the fields, they most likely had to leave significant ruts behind.

“A lot of people who did their harvesting last fall had to do their harvesting in the mud, and they are going to have to rework the ground before they can do their planting,” Poole said.

But to rework that ground, it has to dry out first.

“It is hard to say (when planting will start) this year because all your ground is not ready to plant,” Poole said. “There is going to be a lot of tillage that will have to be done.”

Assuming that they’re able to head to the fields this week, farmers can hope to start their normal planting of crops for this time of year — corn and milo, for example — soon.

The delays could nonetheless push other plantings back, changing the farming timeline for the year.

“If you are still planting soybeans in the middle or at the end of May, you are way behind,” Poole said.

The National Weather Service is not predicting any rainfall this workweek.