Weather making for a better 2008 ag season

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By Erin Melwing

News Intern

Crops, in general, seem to be in good order for the 2008 season, according to Steve Moore, county agriculture extension agent. However, a rainy May left its impact on crops.

“Compared to 2007, people are breathing a sigh of relief,” Moore said. “Hay quality issues will probably become a little bit more prevalent as we enter the feeding season though.”

Since it was a wet May, the weather prevented a lot of farmers from taking higher quality hay in May. Once hay starts to mature, it starts losing percentages of proteins and other nutritive qualities. Therefore, for every mouthful an animal bites of mature hay, there are less nutrients than in comparison with less mature hay. Farmers must reach a balance of quality and quantity, Moore said.

“Tobacco seems to be in really good shape,” Moore said. “However, this tobacco was put out later than normal.”

A good portion of the tobacco crops in Henry County were delayed in transplanting due to the May weather as well.

“In essence, the full crop year couldn’t be spread over many weeks,” Moore said. “That means that our harvest will not be spread over weeks.”

Due to a shorter harvesting time period, it will create problems on individual farms when it comes to spreading the workforce out. There will be an increase in hardships concerning labor, according to Moore.

Corn and soybean crops, along with other minor crops in Henry County, also are in very good shape right now, Moore said.

Livestock is facing health issues, as usual. Moore said there are always concerns with pink eye in the summertime. However, livestock health issues are manageable through proper attention. Unfortunately, increased energy, fertilizer, crop and animal medicine costs are impacting farmers everyday, Moore said.

“Overall, farmers are reporting a big sigh of relief about where we stand in July of 2008 versus 2007,” Moore said. “So that’s a pretty good situation.”

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