New planting season ahead

By The Associated Press

GREENWOOD — Some farmers in Leflore County are trying to decide which crops to plant in 2010.

Farmer Erle West Barham says the 2009 crop year was a disaster that was caused in large part by a late-season rainfall that delayed the harvesting of soybeans and cotton.

“Everyone has got a weathered eye on what the prices are and what the costs are,” Barham said. “Last year was not profitable at all. It was the opposite of profitable,” Barham said. “It was character-building, I’ll say that.”

Jerry Singleton, an agent with the Leflore County Extension Service, said some farmers are planning to plant more rice and cotton, but “all of that is subject to change over the next 30 days.”

Barham said this winter’s cold, wet weather has delayed maintenance work on equipment used for planting season.

“You have to put it off because you’ve become so inefficient and, second, because you can’t afford anybody getting sick,” Barham said.

The wet conditions aren’t likely to change for the next few weeks. Singleton agreed that interferes with pre-planting work.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of tillage to do before we plant anything,” he said.

Typically, corn planting begins in late March or early April. After April 10, farmers will likely have to plant cotton or soybeans.

“No crop pencils out well. Cotton looks a little bit better than corn or soybeans,” Singleton said.