Soil Temp May 12, 2015
Today I took a soil temperature reading at 7:30am this morning.
58°F – 2 miles south of Kress, Texas – no-till with heavy wheat cover.
With recent rains and cool weather soil temperatures have been fairly static and hovering in the mid to upper 50° range. Today, most fields are still too wet to make any field work progress, but a few might be dry enough for work or planting soon as our long-time dry soil soaks its fill. Additional rainfall is predicted for the area over the next few days that could delay progress farther. I do not see this as a major problem yet unless the lowest areas of a field are still underwater. The largest problem that comes to my mind today is that many of our early planting intentions for sorghum, mostly designed to limit sugarcane aphid exposure latter in the season, and quite a bit of the area’s corn crop are on hold until we can actually get into the field.
Many producers might certainly be feeling behind, especially if cotton is the intended crop. We know we will have a window that will close on our summer growing season come the fall. I would like to encourage our area cotton producers in that cotton is not typically considered late until after a May 30th or later planting date and that a seedling off to a quick and healthy start in good soil temperatures will likely catch or surpass an earlier planted seedling into cool conditions. With this in mind, staying the course with the finishing planting cooler germinating grain crops before switching to cotton should remain the best bet for this season’s profitability. Meanwhile if cotton is the only summer crop left to be planted, waiting on the right soil temperature could actually put your fields in the lead.
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.