Farmers sowed the first seeds of spring with corn going into the ground early in March.

Wet weather delayed the start of planting, according to LSU AgCenter corn specialist, Ronnie Levy. But once drier conditions moved in, farmers planted a lot of corn in a short time.

“We’re in full swing, and some producers have already planted what they intended to plant,” said Levy, who is located at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center in Alexandria.

In some areas the plants are already starting to emerge.

Good prices and ideal weather could push corn acres higher than expected. In 2012, growers planted around 580,000 acres of corn. Levy says this year’s acreage will likely be between 600,000 and 650,000.

“Because of the uncertainty of planting conditions for later-planted crops and good conditions now, we will probably see a few extra acres of corn,” he said.

It is important that farmers get their corn planted in March because corn planted later could suffer heat stress and have more pest problems.

“We don’t want extreme temperatures during pollination and filling because it does affect quality of the crop and the yields of the crop.”

Another way to reduce damage from heat is to have the crop irrigated. Levy said more farmers are using irrigation on their corn crops than they have in the past.

“With the irrigation it reduces the risk, and it has been shown to increase yields in most of our crops.”

Last year farmers saw high corn prices. Prices have come down slightly, but farmers are optimistic that they will see good profits again this year.

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