I-80 Planting Tour: Rain Halts Planting in Northwest Ohio

May 11, 2016 12:00 PM

Ohio growers are a little behind pace with planting this year, with 30% of the state’s corn acres and 8% of soybean acres in the ground. Both are below the five-year-average. Rains are keeping farmers out of the fields, but producers are optimistic this growing season will season will be much better than last.

It’s a good day for Fred Pond to stay inside. He’s treating soybeans for customers at his seed company.

”We are finishing up some orders for some guys. We figure on those rain days that we will take care of those projects and get them done so when the weather cooperates, we’re ready to go,” says Pond, a farmer and seed dealer in Scott, Ohio. 

Mother Nature has offered up plenty of ‘go-time’ for farmers this year. “Ground conditions have been excellent--some of the best planting we’ve had in the last couple of years,” Pond says. 

Today, however, machinery sits still during a stretch of cool, rainy days. With rain in the forecast, it may stay that way throughout the week.

“Oddly, this year in April and last year in April, we’re almost identical rain-wise. That’s where things took a change here in Ohio last year,” Pond recalls.

Pond is referring to last year's growing season, when northwest Ohio was drenched by spring rains that caused highly variable yields. Some farmers even put acres into prevent plant. “Last year, we only had twelve hours where we were able to be in the field the entire month of June,” he says.

But Pond is optimistic during this new year. He says Ohio is used to the early season rains it’s receiving now.

“We had about 3.8 inches of rain here in April, which is about normal," he says. "We’re ready for this system to move out so we can get in the fields."

Pond says he isn’t shifting his corn and soybean rotations, but other farmers are reducing wheat in his area. “We cut our acreage on wheat. My customers have too," he says. "Over the last four or five years, it’s dropped dramatically."

Thirty miles northeast, Keith Schroeder is dealing with a rain delay as well. "If you go a couple counties away, they're getting more crop planted but there isn't too much done around here," he says.

Schroeder says he started three weeks ago with corn, but spotty rains are keeping him out of the fields for now. “If we get can get corn in the ground by May 15, I feel like we still have our full yield potential left yet,” he says.

While heavy clouds stretch across Ohio again, producers like Schroeder say a new year brings another opportunity. “I’ve been at this long enough where I think there’s no two years that are alike. I’m sure we’ll get a chance here sometime," he says.

Watch the AgDay segment here:

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