Corn and Grain Sorghum Research Verification – Kevin Lawson (Corn & GS Verification Coordinator)
None of the verification fields have been planted yet. There will be 8 corn and 2 grain sorghum fields entered in the research verification program for 2014. The corn fields include Arkansas, Clay, Lee, Lonoke, Mississippi, Jefferson, St Francis and White Counties. Chicot County will have an irrigated grain sorghum field, and Prairie County will have a non irrigated grain sorghum field. I took soil temperature readings in three central Arkansas fields on March 12, and they averaged 55 degrees at noon. The soil temperature in Clay County read 45 degrees at noon on March 13. Corn verification fields have historically been planted around the first week in April (~ April 9 the last five years) and grain sorghum verification fields a week later (~ April 18 the last five years).
Southeast Arkansas Update – Wes Kirkpatrick (Desha County) & Kevin Norton (Ashley County)
Corn planting has begun on a limited basis in areas south of McGehee where fields are dry enough for equipment to travel. By next week, depending on rainfall over the weekend, corn planting should begin to increase in many parts of extreme southeast Arkansas. Acres will be substantially down from what they were in the area last year.
Central Arkansas Update – Brent Griffin & Michael Paskewitz (Prairie County)
On the Prairie, wet conditions are keeping farmers out of the field but with steady to high winds in the forecast we expect some field work by the end of the week. Where burndown has not been applied warmer temperatures have really caused a visible flush of winter grasses and broadleaves. With soil temperatures increasing we should see some corn planted next week.
Northeast Arkansas Update – Herb Ginn (Lawrence County) & Branon Thiesse (Craighead County)
Just about all of the snow is finally gone from our last big storm. A few large piles remain where snow was piled up from parking lots, but the temperature at this writing is 70 and the sun is shining which has a lot of guys wanting to get into the fields. Some field work had taken place a few weeks ago and burndowns were going out, but the snow and ice storm we had put a halt to that. Now we are waiting for things to dry out before we can get serious again. May be able to get into a few sandy fields by the weekend.
River Valley Update – Kevin VanPelt (Conway County) & Hank Chaney (Faulkner County)
The last of the ice melted over this past weekend adding some much needed moisture in our area. Most of the fields are worked up and even though we’ve had some 70 degree days this week, producers are still 2-3 weeks away from planting.
It takes approximately 150 heat units for corn to emerge. In 2013, it took an average of 142 heat units for the corn verification fields to emerge. The following list is the heat units accumulated from March 9 to March 14 in different parts of the state. In southeast Arkansas, the average for this week was 8.5 heat units a day. If that average holds for the next two weeks (temperature highs of 67 degrees or higher), a field planted on March 9 in southeast Arkansas would emerge in about 17 to 18 days.
Southeast Arkansas – 51
Central Arkansas – 44
Northeast Arkansas – 41
River Valley – 54