High temps help corn crops
Standing water in many parts of Rock County forced farmers to plant later and put the crops off schedule, said Jim Stute, Rock County crops agent.
Corn growth especially had been off pace, but above-normal temperatures in the last several days already have made a difference, said farmer Jason Henschler.
The ideal day for corn planting is May 1, but most farmers try to get started by April 20, Stute said. This year, they had to wait until May 5 or 6.
"That doesn't seem like a lot, but since farms around here tend to be bigger and farmers have to cover all that ground, they have to start on the early side of that optimum date," Stute said.
Hotter weather has made noticeable changes in corn already. Stute said the dark green color and higher plants in many fields is "like night and day."
Henschler said his corn has increased in size and its roots have become more developed in the last week.
"I would think if we got a good week to a week and a half of above-normal temperatures, we'd probably get closer to where we need to be," Henschler said. "Anything above 50 degrees, you've got growing conditions, and now we can get stuff growing 24 hours a day instead of just during the day."
Farmers with land that was still submerged late in the planting season might wait longer to see the effects, but higher temperatures eventually will help their crops, Stute said.
Bob Arndt of Arndt Farms in La Prairie Township said his corn has begun to catch up thanks to the hotter weather.
"I think it's going to be shoulder-high by the 4th of July," he said. "It looks really good."