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Planting Advancing Rapidly in South

Delay of planting in the Midwest inevitable.

With dry weather in the South farmers have been busy getting crops into the ground. According to USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey more than 40% of intended corn acreage in Texas has been planted compared to the five-year average of 25%. However not all states in the southern U.S. are as far ahead of schedule. Georgia for example only has 7% of corn in the ground.

"A little bit slower than last year where we had record-setting warmth; 20% planted in 2007," Rippey says. "Also producers might be a little more cautious this year because a lot of that corn acreage in the Southeast got hammered by the early April freeze last year."

Louisiana is another state that is far behind the usual pace of corn planting with just 3% planted compared with the 19% that is normal.

Meanwhile the country's midsection is getting yet another storm this week bringing up to six inches of rain to some areas and prompting the National Weather Service to issue flood watches for a wide stretch of the country from central and northeastern Texas into western and central Pennsylvania.

The Midwest has been hit with storm after storm this year and in addition to possible floods it could have a longer-term impact on planting.

"Planting delays look to be inevitable because of the wetness we see in the Central and Eastern Corn Belt," Rippey says. "That will push back the planting date so what we would like to see ideally is a dryer weather pattern from here until planting."

The weather outlook does call for a few weeks of dryer weather after this week's storm, but cool weather will slow evaporation rates so that may not help too much in getting field work underway.

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