2015 Soil Temperatures and Planting
April 30, 2015
It is that time of year again, time to get another season’s crop up and growing. I know of several producers that were looking at getting an early planting of their sorghum in this year to hopefully avoid potential problems with the sugarcane aphid this year and others still planting corn. The much needed rainfall that came earlier this week has delayed much of those plans. With that much needed rainfall, came some cooler temperatures and the annual question of, “What is the soil temperature today?” applies not just to cotton as we come into the first week of May this year.
With much of our plantings being delayed, it is still imperative that we get all of these crops off to a good start. Often those crops planted later, but with a more suitable soil temperature can catch or even surpass earlier planted crops planted into marginal or poor conditions.
Cotton gets off to its best start when planted in a recommended 69°F consistent temperature soil (roughly 64°F bare minimum with a week’s worth of warm weather on the way). Sorghum requires a 57°F recommended consistent temperature (roughly 55°F bare minimum with a warming trend to follow). Corn needs a minimum of 50°F and no freezing temperatures and a general warming trend following planting.
With those figures in mind, here are the four soil temperature readings I gathered early this morning from around the area.
Halfway Experiment Station, Halfway, Texas: 52°F in no-till old sorghum ground.
2 Miles southwest of Hale Center, Texas: 56°F in conventional tilled old cotton ground.
On the Hale Swisher County line north of Edmonson, Texas: 54°F in conventional tilled old corn ground.
4 Miles southwest of Kress, Texas: 55°F in no-till old cotton ground.
The weathermen are calling for a general warming trend to continue that should help pull these soil temperatures up quickly. They are also calling for a good chance of more rain early next week. I find it very hard to complain about rainfall that might delay our plantings any farther and so you will not hear anything like that here. As this next round hopefully comes our way, it should not come with any vastly cooler temperatures this time to cool that soil back down. Once those temperatures get just right, likely in a just few days for corn and sorghum but up to a week or better for cotton, the only thing holding our plantings back should be muddy fields. I bet we can live with a delay like that.