STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- The corn yield for the 2014 harvesting season could be struggling to meet growers' hopes this year.
According to the MSU Extension Service, rain has affected the crop in major ways.
When it rains, growers have to wait five to 10 days to resume planting due to saturated soil, officials say.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the crop was just 64 percent planted by April 20, putting it farther behind than it was at this time in 2013 and well behind the five-year average of 87 percent planted.
Saturated soils could do more than cause a delay in planting. They can also threaten corn already in the ground.
“Corn is most vulnerable to saturated conditions when it has germinated but not emerged above the soil surface,” Larson said.
The MSU Extension Service says rain also delays burn-down herbicide applications, which allows winter weeds to continue growing.
Though rain has delayed much for the crop, there's still a chance the yield will be as impressive as last year's record harvest.
The crop set a new production record in the state in 2013 with an average yield of around 180 bushels per acre, and despite rain and cold weather, it’s not too late to continue planting this year.
“Research at Mississippi State University shows that corn grown with irrigation can maintain its optimal yield potential even when planted past May 1,” Larson said. “Just like with any other crop, the planting window doesn’t really close.”
Mississippi growers expect to plant 580,000 acres of corn in 2014, down from 860,000 acres planted in 2013.