I-80 Planting Tour Wrap: Farmers Around The Corn Belt Talk Conditions

May 17, 2017 10:39 AM

After a slow start in May, Matt Nelson, a farmer from Burt County, Neb., is catching up in the field. 

Nebraska pushed 30 points higher in corn planting and 24 points higher in soybean planting in one week. It’s quite the difference from the end of April and beginning of May when a cold snap, rain and hail in the area set farmers back on planting. 

“You don’t have a choice,” said Nelson. “You roll with it.” 

Craig Douglas, a farmer from Adair, Ia., parked his planter in the shop because he’s done for the season. Douglas says he did not plant his last seeds in the best condition—in sopping wet soil—but he doesn’t think there will be replant in his area. 

“A lot of times we’re too wet or too dry,” said Douglas. “Farmers are hard to please, but we’re in good shape this year.”

Statewide there were huge gains in Iowa last week. Corn planting jumped 33 points in corn and 31 points in soybeans. The state planted over 4 million acres since last week. 

After a good start to the year, USDA says Illinois farmers are behind the five-year average, despite planting gains over the past week. 

“It’s a little too wet in some spots and way too wet in others,” said John Keifner, a farmer from Manhattan, Ill. 

Keifner has 20 percent of corn left to plant and 20 percent of beans in the ground. He says there will be replanting this year. The farmers who don’t will likely have uneven emergence and thin spots. 

“Some was too early, some was planted too wet,” Keifner.  “I would rather too early and too wet than a lot done way too late.”

Farmers are seeing slight gains with corn and soybean planting for Indiana. Jim Smith, a farmer from Grabill, Ind., is putting his first seeds in the ground this week. 

“We’ve had rain events then another rain event that’s kept us out of the field long enough to not get anything accomplished,” Smith.

Despite small weekly gains, Ohio farmers remain behind the five-year-average with planting. 

Joe Barker, a farmer from Paulding County, Ohio started to plant the end of April. Farmers are seeing issues between four to six inches of rain, low temperatures in the low 30s and cool soil temperatures. 

“Our area, we’re flat, heavy clay timber soil,” said Barker. “We don’t dry out in a hurry.”

He believes it’s too early to know if he has to replant but a significant amount of acres in his county may need to be replanted. He says farmers hope this isn’t a repeat of the last couple of years. 

“It’s important with a lot of folks I work with that we have a good 2017 season,” said Barker. 

As farmers to the West gain steam, producers to the East hope to stay dry.

Minnesota farmers captured a lot of ground. Nearly 4 million corn acres were planted in the state since last week. 

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