Farm & Ranch April 2019




Storms leave farmers waiting to plant this season

did some good, Cullan said, and while the blizzard this week has mostly been a drier, lighter snow, he still antici- pates some moisture benefits. Planting delays Creech said that field peas, of which some 50,000 acres are usually planted in the Panhandle, are most of- ten planted in March, and while some farmers were able to plant in between the blizzards, the bulk of the planting has been delayed. Early planting for sugar beets usually starts inmid- April, but some growers are having to shift their plans. Brandon Hessler withWestern Sugar’s agronomy department said the wet spring has caused similar delays when compared to last year’s growing season. “The earlier you plant, you can get a bit more potential and grow a little bit longer,” he said. “But it shouldn’t be too

could have issues,” he said. “But if it would start to warm up and dry out after this, we’re still in fine shape.” Chris Cullan, who farms east of Hemingford, said he doesn’t anticipate much dam- age to his winter wheat crop. “We’re still getting cold enough at night that it really hasn’t had much of an im- pact,” Cullan said. “We just started coming out of dor- mancy here in the last week or so after this last snow kind of melted.” Cullan said he wasn’t concerned with winter har- diness issues because most of the wheat varieties he grows are photosensitive to daylight length, mean- ing the plants know to come out of dormancy based on daylight length versus tem- perature. “The nights are still get-

won’t be much longer and they will be,” he said. Cody Creech, University of Nebraska-Lincoln dryland cropping specialist, agreed with Cullan’s estimates. “I would say from a risk perspective that it’s early enough that the chance of having significant damage is very low,” Creech said. “As the wheat is more de- veloped, the risk of injury increases, so the more ma- ture it gets, the more we get concerned.” Moisture and fertilizer Cullan said that with the March 13 blizzard, most of the ground underneath was still frozen, and when the snow finally thawed, it had little soil penetration. Another storm that brought about 8 inches of snow to the Hemingford area 10 days ago

big of an effect, except for the amount of the acres and how quick they can plant them for our bigger growers.” Soil temperatures have been cooler than normal for this time of year, which can affect emergence, Hessler said. “I had some guys that were able to plant before the snow- storm, but held off because they weren’t ready to trust the temperature in the soil, especially with the colder tem- peratures on the way,” he said. Hessler anticipates that once the snow thaws, mud will keep farmers out of the fields for at least 10 days. “Some of the heavier soil will take longer, but the sandi er soil will dry out sooner,” he said. “If you get going a little too early before it dries out, it will cause some compaction and ball-up the planting to where it won’t be quite as uni- form on the emergence and seed to soil contact.”


SCOTTSBLUFF —While livestock producers have been struggling to deal with calving and feeding through blowing snow, farmers are experiencing a series of de- lays due to the blizzards. ‘Too soon to tell’ Will Mahony with Farmer’s Coop in Hemingford said he felt it’s too early to tell regard- ing potential damage to the winter wheat crop. “Winter wheat coming out of dormancy certainly could be affected,” Mahony said. “Wheat is a hardy crop, and we typically kill the winter wheat crop about five times be- fore it comes out of dormancy.” Other spring planted crops could experience delays, however. “If we continue to see this weather pattern persist, we

ting cool, so they aren’t going to town yet, but it


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