Farm Progress

Heavy spring rain means fallow fields in N. Texas

Robert Burns

March 31, 2010

2 Min Read

There likely will be a lot of fallow fields in the North and Central Texas regions this year, according to Texas AgriLife Extension Service reports.

"We are very, very, very wet still at this time," said Rick Maxwell, AgriLife Extension agent in Collin County, northeast of Dallas. "Because of this wet weather we've got very little of our corn in."

Maxwell said very little wheat got planted in Collin and neighboring counties as well. He estimates only about 5 percent of the 30,000 acres of corn that are typically planted went in this year. Wheat is planted in the fall, but only about 30 percent of the usual acreage of wheat was planted last fall.

The planting window for corn closed about March 15 in North Texas. Sorghum is an option some years, but this year, Maxwell expected most Collin County growers will elect to take prevented planting provisions of their crop-insurance policies.

"We're basically a two-crop system here in Collin County - - corn and wheat," Maxwell said. "We're just now getting into the normally wet period of our year. And they think -- at least the ones I've talked too -- it's going to be more of the same."

The situation is a lot better in the Panhandle, where 30 percent or more of Texas corn acres are generally planted, said Dr. Brent Bean, an AgriLife Extension agronomist based in Amarillo.

The planting window opens and closes later in the Panhandle, Bean said, and though corn planting may be a little later than normal this year, he predicted 2010 will be a good corn year.

"We're in very good shape from a moisture standpoint," Bean said. "We're not going to have to be pre-irrigating this year."

Bean said he believes planting will be a little late, perhaps a week on the average, because of the wet weather. Most Panhandle growers strip-till.

Most growers haven't had a chance to either till the strips or fertilize yet, but Bean didn't expect more than a short delay in operations.

"As soon as the soil temperatures get above 50 degrees, they'll be starting to plant," he said.

Bean also noted that because nearly all corn is irrigated in the Panhandle, yields are generally a lot higher than in North and Central Texas, so the 30 percent of acreage generally represents 50 percent of the bushels grown in the state.

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