You may or may not be aware of the old-timer’s saying: the number of fog days in February equal the number of frost days in May. I usually try to take a mental note when we do have a fog day in February. I could be wrong, but I don’t recall any this year. However, so far we’ve had two frost days in May.
The first was late last week, isolated to lower lying areas. The second, however, was wide spread. You can see what we woke up to Monday morning (see photo above).
Sometimes that happens. To cover acres, many farmers weigh the risk of frost against the rewards of timely planting. With the extremes of this year, I doubt we are out of the woods yet. It was at or below freezing for more than six hours Monday morning, for three of those hours it was 30 degrees. We’ve really only had one nice day since then, but today begins a string of days which should bring planting 2017 to an end.
I hope a final assessment can be made when scouts cross the fields early next week. At this time it appears we will be ok. As you can see in the more recent picture, the unifoliate leaves were damaged, however, it appears the first trifoliate was shielded from damage and is starting to emerge. Hopefully the plants will have enough energy left to get that trifoliate opened up so it can start the photosynthesis process.
You also can see in the picture that the cotyledon has the ‘halo effect’. This is a result of the seed treatment Ilevo. It is not of concern, but makes the overall plant health picture look worse.
This link shows the growth stages I’m talking about.
As for planting, we were able to push forward another 7% or so (now at about 70% complete) on Tuesday evening and Wednesday before another .6-.7-in.rainfall overnight. I expect the ground may be fit again Saturday late. We may do some tillage and leave it to dry until we plant on Monday. The fields that remain for us are on the wetter side.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.