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Saturated grounds slowing down farmers planting season

Posted: 5:55 AM, Feb 15, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-15 07:01:55-05

Area farmers are preparing for some “hectic” days ahead as they will have to make up delays caused by wet fields from persistent rains the past few months.

Wet conditions throughout most of the Coastal Bend are delaying field work.

South Texas farmers are stuck on the sidelines because of cold temperatures and wet conditions. This delay might cost everybody if we don’t dry out.

Many South Texas farmers are compiling a list of concerns over this year’s planting season: too much rain, saturated grounds, cloudy days, and heavy equipment.

“Anybody in the Coastal Bend realizes that we have been getting steady rains almost on a weekly basis from August till February. So each dry spell that we had, farmers and producers were hard at trying to get the tillage done, the fertilization done. There is a lot of things going on in the winter time that didn’t get to happen,”said Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent Bobby McCool.

“The later you go in it, the more it is going to cut into your other crops you are trying to get out. It may not be mature enough yet so getting it in while we can and getting the right planting date is critical,”said San Patricio County farmer Jared Gauldin.

Tractors are still parked in the barn and seed bags are still stacked high. This means some farmers will have to really push to get their planting done in order to get back on schedule.

“The saturated soils in parts of the Coastal Bend are keeping the farmers and producers from getting in there and doing the things they need to do. Planting corn right now is a good time, but some may not be able to just because of the wet conditions,” said McCool.

“In the long run, planting, you know, we want to get it in and out, and we have planting dates for crop insurance, and if we go past the planting dates, it is less and less insurance we are going to get on it,”said Gauldin.

Keep in mind, a late planting is not an automatic kiss of death. It just means longer days to make up for the missed time.

“It is real frustrating with all the moisture we have had; we were late fertilizing, in fact we just put our fertilizer up last week and got the planters out and started getting them. We have this little window to start planting now so there are going to be a few late nights, and hopefully this moisture doesn’t bring in too much and keep going,”said Gauldin.

The saturated ground is slowing down corn planting at the moment. If it stays wet, farmers will have to plant sorghum or cotton. You can’t plant corn late in South Texas or else pollination will be poor.

Some farmers have already exchanged their corn seed for cotton seed.