Low temperatures a concern for farmers

Corn field during the winter.
Corn field during the winter.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Below average temperatures are likely to linger into the month of March. The temperatures could potentially bring problems to local farmers.

The Climate Prediction Center came out with its monthly outlook and the forecast shows cooler than normal temperatures in March.

“I wish I could say March was going to be this wonderfully warm and beautiful month, but as of now the Climate Prediction Center has models showing temperatures below average,” explained News 18’s Meteorologist Cameron Hopman.

Hopman said the average temperatures in Greater Lafayette at the start of March are in the 40s and into the 50s at the end of the month.

Purdue Extension Soybean Specialist Shaun Casteel said cooler than normal temperatures could bring problems to farmers who plant soybeans and corn.

“Temperatures aren’t warm enough to dry out the soil, so they are causing some issues with compaction from tillage, from spraying applications or even fertilization. I see some potential problems there,” explained Casteel.

Casteel said the below average temperatures in March is something to keep an eye on, but he’s more concerned about the weather in April.

“It is something that is in the back of our minds because it sets up the stage for the planting season,” added Casteel.

Casteel mentioned the cooler temperatures will make it difficult to warm up the soil. He explained temperatures warmer than 50 degrees in the soil at seeding depth is ideal for both corn and soybeans.

“If it is below 50 degrees with seeds in the soil and there is moisture there as well, then it is a good recipe for dampening, some disease coming in and slow germination,” Casteel said.

Casteel said farmers ideally like to plant soybeans late April and into early May. He explained he’s not too concerned about the planting situation yet. Caste will have more concerns if temperatures stay below average in April.

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