Wet conditions bog down efforts for Alabama corn growers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Wet conditions bog down efforts for Alabama corn growers

Moisture conditions are a fine balancing act for corn farmers. (Source: WAFF) Moisture conditions are a fine balancing act for corn farmers. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

It's "hurry up and wait" for farmers in the Tennessee Valley to get their first corn seed in the ground.

"We're a little wet right now. It has delayed some efforts with planting corn," said Tyler Sandlin, regional extension agronomist with the Alabama Co-Op Extension.

With soil temperatures consistently in the mid-50s, the time is right to start planting corn, but corn fields are a muddy mess. 

Sandlin said he was able to get 100 acres of corn planted so far, but he's far from finished. He has 2,700 acres to go.

"Rain has hampered our efforts to get in the fields, just simply to get the equipment in there, and you don't want to plant in the mud, so that's kind of where we are right now," he said.

A break in the rain would allow for a balance between the wet and dry days. Sandlin said you need crumbly dirt, not mud.

"It's difficult to plant into and it's not conducive for corn germination; a little bit of drying weather would be good," he said.

Water is needed throughout the growing process for corn, but the maximum use is needed during the corn reproductive stages.

There is a silver lining to the slow start, however.

"We had some similar conditions last year. It was a wetter spring, and ended up with a really good corn crop - probably one of the best I've ever seen, due to conditions later on in the season," Sandlin said.

Insurance companies designated March 15 the official start to planting corn, technically putting farmers a few weeks behind schedule.

"We don't want to plant too late for corn," Sandlin said. "Other issues could arise. Right now, we're in a good window for that. If they can get out there in the next week or so next couple of weeks they should be okay."

Thanks to modern equipment, farmers we talked to say they can get their corn in very quickly.

A string of dry days is all they need.

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