USDA’s first Crop Progress report of 2017 shows almost all of Nebraska farmers have yet to put a seed in the ground, averaging only two days suitable for field work last week.
Matt Nelson, a farmer from Oakland, Neb., isn’t planting just yet, but he doesn’t mind for now.
“It’s plenty early to be in the field yet,” said Nelson. “I have cows out in part of my field. I have plenty of things to do before I get into the field.”
Spring rains and clouds are creating mucky yards and wet fields. Mother Nature is supposed to shut the water off this week.
“Guys would rather it be sunny and dry out a little bit to get caught back up,” said Nelson. “We need sunshine, more time, more hours in the day.”
40 miles south in Cedar Bluffs, Neb., Brad Williams is another farmer not in the fields.
“I’m making sure we are prepared because Mother Nature doesn’t give us too many days to get it done right,” said Williams.
After planting in 2016, the area saw a soggy start to the growing season, something he doesn’t want to repeat.
“As far as our emergence goes, our emergence was really poor last year after it turned cold and wet,” said Williams.
Despite lack of snow over the winter, Williams says winter and spring rains are soaking into the subsoil.
“We have plenty of moisture,” said Williams. “Hopefully, we get a little bit of a dry spell so we can go and plant without being too wet.”
While he can’t manage weather, he can control rotations. Williams and Nelson are sticking with their rotations, both close to a 50/50 split on corn and soybeans.
“Once you get out of these rotations, it can make a hiccup.,” said Williams. “Then next year you have another problem with that rotation. It’s not that easy just to change.
“There are always changes throughout the year and it just works better for my operation to stay 50/50 [with corn and soybean acres].”
Until the sun peeks out of the clouds, both will work while they wait, preparing for another year in the field.
USDA’s Prospective Plantings report says corn acreage is expected to be down an estimated 3 percent from the previous year in the Cornhusker State. Soybean acreage is forecast to be 10 percent more than last year.