Spring Weather Could Affect Produce Prices
OSAGE COUNTY - Local farmers say the spring weather could cause a rise in produce prices. Heavy rainfall and cold temperatures caused farmers a delay in planting their crops. The delay could result in farmers missing the best time to plant crops like sweet corn. Prices could increase because crops won't have good conditions for as long.
Sweet corn should be planted by late April or early May at the latest. Farmers cannot plant while the soil is wet because it will damage the soil's structure. According to MU professor of soil science, Steve Anderson, Missouri is behind past years in corn production.
"Last week, Missouri was about 20 to 25 percent corn planted, which is really behind normal. Normally, we're probably about 60 percent at this stage or last year we were at about 85 percent corn planted," Anderson said.
Last year's drought caused surface soil and subsoil to use up stored moisture. The recent rainfall restored moisture storage to the surface soil but it takes longer to fully replenish the water in the subsoil. Anderson said some soil can store up to 6 or 7 inches of water to defend against droughts. The heavy rainfall may have a negative effect on this years crops, but Anderson said Missouri needed the rain.
"We like the rain because we needed it from last year's drought. We want to recharge that profile," Anderson said. "The challenge is we want to get the corn planted so it can take advantage and grow well and have some productive years this year."