The Washington Times-Herald

May 25, 2013

Farmers feeling crunch of wet planting season

Lindsay Owens
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Area farmers are feeling the crunch to get crops into the ground as soon as possible. Wet conditions have halted many of the planting days in the last week.  Just five days were suitable for planting as the soil remains too wet in much of the southern portion of the state.

“About 50 percent of crops are planted so far and we are gaining on those percentages every dry spell,” said Scott Monroe, Purdue Field Extension Educator. “It’s starting to get a little late on the planting dates but there’s still a long time before harvest.”

Across the state, the percentage of corn planted is behind last year’s progress by about 32 percent according to the Indiana Crop and Weather Report. Much of the 64 percent planted, was done so last week before storms passed through the state, but this average is only slightly behind the five- year average of 65 percent. About 20 percent of corn has emerged compared to 85 percent last year for the same week.

“On the lighter soils, a lot of corn has spiked through. Emergence is slower on heavier soil and luckily, on the last dry spell, lots of corn went into the ground,” Monroe said. “There is some potential loss of yield with late planting dates but there have been years with late planting dates that produced above average yields.”

Soybeans are about 30 percent planted state-wide, making this years’ crop about 54 percent behind last year but just six percent behind the five-year average. Just three percent of soybeans have emerged thus far compared with 58 percent last year.

“Every year is so much different than the last and you learn to expect the unexpected,” said farmer Rob Dove. “Everything is about two weeks behind and now we have two weeks worth of work that needs to be done in three or four days.” 

While southern Indiana is behind the rest of the state in planting, there is hope for drier days to come.  The 10-day outlook shows a 40 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms Sunday and Monday but warmer temperatures and only a slight chance of rain for the rest of May with highs reaching in the upper 80’s.