The cold, damp weather so far this spring is causing problems for North Carolina farmers trying to get crops into the ground. Farmers say they can deal with the rain because of the most recent drought, but the cold is a problem.
Roy Thagard is a Field Crop Agent at the Greene County Cooperative Extension Office. He says farmers haven’t been able to get the soil weeded and prepared for planting corn and tobacco. Thagard says the soil needs to be 55 to 60 degrees for plants to germinate or sprout.
“If farmers plant, and it’s 40-45 degrees, instead of getting a 90-percent germ rate, they may get a 75 or 65 percent germination rate. So that’s going to increase their costs due to having to replant or up their seeding rate,” says Thagard.
And Thagard says it's almost time to get corn in the ground.
"I always shoot for April the first for planting corn. But some folks would get a jump start. Maybe by March 20 they would start planting corn if conditions are right. This year the conditions are just not as adequate temperature wise to put corn in the ground," says Thagard.
The latest Weather and Crops Report from the North Carolina USDA Field Office says the cool wet weather is requiring frost protection for strawberries and it’s causing pastures to become muddy which raises health concerns for animals.