Stop-And-Go Planting Season

June 4, 2009 07:00 PM

Sara Muri, AgWeb Crops Online Editor
The only consistency farmers have had this spring planting season is weather complications, according to farmer reports to AgWeb Crop Comments. Excessive rainfall, hailstorms and near-drought conditions have all been recorded by farmers. Yet, even with all these setbacks, many farmers are still seeing positive signs for 2009 crops. 
Too Much Rain
In many states around the Corn Belt, farmers have been doused with large amounts of rain.
"Continual rain has been hard on the hay makers around here,” says a farmer from Cumberland County, Penn. "First-cutting hay should be 50% complete and some haven't even got the mowers out of the shed.”
In Jasper, Ind., a farmer's fields are visible signs of too much rain. "Wet and yellowing in some spots,” the farmer says. "It's going to be a 90% of potential at best. It's time to replant low spots but with extra rain in the forecast, it may be a futile effort.”
Many farmers from Illinois have labeled rainfall as extreme and damaging. After 4” of rain in one week, a farmer from Shelby County, Ill. said the corn rotted in the ground.

In Peoria County, Ill., a farmer reports: "WET, WET, WET! In my area 50-60% corn planted and very little beans planted. Early corn populations could be stronger. Weeds are going to become a major problem in working chiseled ground that hasn't been touched this spring. I need a week of dry and windy weather before I can finish my corn planting.” 
Dry and Dusty
In contrast to many farmers' wet springs, others would be willing to trade some dust for drops.
"We could sure trade you the dry windy weather for a rain,” says a Sioux County, Iowa farmer.
In Renville County, Minn., a farmer reports very dry conditions. "We've had 1" of rain in the month of May, and damage is visible,” the farmer says.

In the northern part of Iowa, Winnebago County, rain is one the wish list of a farmer. "We are really starting to need a rain,” the farmer says. "Usually we don't have to wish for rain around here in June. In fact, a lot of years this is monsoon season. We know what its like to be too wet like the fellows out east, but we still need moisture to grow the crop.”
Farmers in Nebraska are also dealing with rainless weather. "Extremely dry here,” says a grower from Fillmore County. "Even the livestock producers are concerned over their pastures. We had 0.26" of rain two nights ago with some golf ball size hail, though.” 
Hopeful Signs
While the weather issues are causing problems, many farmers are providing hopeful reports from their farms.
"Crops look very good here in southwest Iowa,” a Montgomery County farmer says. "I don't remember the corn looking as good as it does at this stage.” 

In Knox County, Ill., a farmer says corn and beans are fairing pretty well. "It is cool and moist but crops are emerging.”

This year's planting dates were far behind the norm for a farmer in Fulton and Miami counties in Indiana. But, the crops don't seem to be suffering. "Most of the corn is up and can be rowed across the field,” the farmer says. "Stands are excellent! It's been a struggle. We'll see how the rest of the season goes from here.”
For More Information

You can e-mail Sara Muri at

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