The cold, wet spring is delaying crop planting for farmers around Wyoming. Normally, almost 80 percent of sugar beets have been planted by now. But only 56 percent has been planted so far this year.
Jeremiah Vardiman is an educator for the University of Wyoming’s northwest extension in Powell. He said farmers were finally able to get into the fields to plant most of the barley crop. But the plants aren’t growing very fast because it’s too cold.
“And so it’s just delaying those field activities, which then delays planting, which bumps into other crops’ planting schedules and it has a chain reaction of pushing all of those back,” Vardiman said.
He said that chain reaction bumps back the schedules for crops like corn, dry beans and oats that are grown in his area. And it delays other farming activities too.
“The weather, the high winds, the high moisture is preventing us from being in the fields," said Vardiman. "We’re not able to make certain applications for our pest management. That could be tillage methods, that could be pesticide applications…”
But Vardiman said alfalfa and grass crops are perennial, which means they don't have to be planted each year and are benefiting from all the moisture, although they might be a little stunted.
He said crops might be able to make up the delay if the weather warms up and dries up soon.