STARKVILLE, Miss. (WJTV) – Corn producers who risked current high input costs in hopes of reaping high market prices at harvest are now waiting for a series of warm, sunny days to complete planting.

Will Maples, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service, said high input costs and high market prices have presented challenges to growers trying to decide what crops to plant.

“There was an argument to be made that the price of corn relative to soybeans could drive more corn planting despite the higher input costs. There was also an argument that high fertilizer costs and supply uncertainties would make producers plant more soybeans than corn,” Maples said.

December corn futures contracts have averaged $7.24 a bushel in April, but the May 2022 corn futures contract broke above $8 in mid-April.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that the state’s corn crop was 63% planted by April 24. Typically, three-fourths of the crop is planted by that date. Sunny, dry weather in late April allowed growers to gain ground, as crop planting has been seriously hindered by rain.

Erick Larson, Extension grain crops agronomist, said Mississippi’s corn planting intentions were about 100,000 acres down from 2021. Rainy weather during the planting season plays a major role in Mississippi crop plantings, and 2022 is no exception.

Corn production requires a significant amount of nitrogen fertilizer, and the cost for this input has increased dramatically since last year. Although market prices for corn are good, producers must carefully manage the crop, including the timing of fertilizer applications.

Any acres intended for corn but unable to get planted will likely go to soybeans or cotton, depending on the complement of crops grown by that particular producer.

Wet weather is not the only challenge facing corn growers this year. Erick Larson, Extension grain crops agronomist, said there have been issues with the supply of various fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide products.