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      Is early planting good for farmers?

      Farming is one of the key industries of the U.P.

      But Mother Nature can be unpredictable, and there's still a chance of frost before farmers get into their main growing season. What are the right conditions that make for successful crop planting? Some say weather and moisture.

      Farmer John Folcik says there's good soil moisture right now. Heâ??s planting two or three weeks ahead of schedule, and there are 30 acres of oats on his farm. Folcik says this year, he's hoping they'll be ready the beginning of August.

      But things could always change, depending on the weather.

      â??We're always optimistic,â?? says Folcik. â??And at this time of the year, it all pretty much boils down to getting enough rain at the right time."

      According to Warren Schauer, Business Management Educator for MSU Extension, it would be risky to start planting warmer season crops now.

      â??We're getting warmer weather than what we're used to at this time of the year,â?? explains Schauer. â??And so if the farmers can get on their fields, they're probably doing some planting now. But doing things like corn...will probably be holding off for a while because that is much more susceptible to frost."

      Folcik has a total of 300 acres on his farm. Twenty of those acres are for corn. He says he's not taking any chances with a late frost. That's why the earliest he'll plant corn will be end of April or the beginning of May.