Forecasts for a drying trend in Ohio next week raise possibilities for farmers to get into their fields just ahead of the June 5 final planting date for corn.
“We are really undergoing a pattern change right now with a shift to a warmer, dryer pattern,” Jeff Myers of the National Weather Service told a May 26 meeting of Ohio state officials, federal agency representatives, farmers, and others.
“After this weekend, drying weather is expected through at least next Friday,” Myers told the group.
Ohio Agriculture Director James Zehringer called the meeting of representatives from farming, agribusiness, and other agricultural groups to get a briefing on the planting season and information about how farmers and related businesses may respond.
Ohio farmers are way overdue for drier weather. As of March 22, they had planted only 11% of their corn, 69 percentage points behind the five-year average,. They had planted 4% of their soybeans, 50 points behind the five-year average. Topsoil moisture rated 86% surplus as of May 20, and only 0.6 days were suitable for field work in the entire week.
“Ohio farmers have contracts that need to be filled, cover crops that have gone to head, and animals that need to be fed,” Zehringer told the gathering.
Brian Frieden of the USDA Risk Management Agency encouraged farmers to talk to their crop insurance agents if they think they may not be able to plant by the final planting dates of June 5 for corn and June 20 for soybeans. He noted that producers with individual coverage may plant during the 25-day late planting period, but they lose 1% of the production guarantee for each day planting is delayed. Farmers also may request prevented planting payments.
Delayed Planting, Lower Yields
Ohio planting has been delayed significantly in nine of the past 20 years, noted Ohio State University agronomist Peter Thomson. “In six of those years, corn yields were below the trend line yield, from 5 bushels per acre in 1995 to 56 bushels per acre in 2002, which saw a near-record-low harvest of 88 bushels per acre,” he said.
USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service will make its normal reports, including the June acreage survey, Ohio NASS director James Ramey told meeting participants. The June 30 Acreage report will carry data on plantings, and the figures will be updated if necessary in the August 11 Crop Production report.
Ohio State University released Decision Aid, a spreadsheet tool, on May 20 to help producers evaluate their corn and soybean planting options and production prospects based on historical data. The Ohio Department of Agriculture also provides links to the aid and several delayed planting resources.
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