Corn Belt Farmers Talk Planting Progress, Spotty Depending on Area

May 9, 2017 10:09 AM

Before the last week or so, planting was rolling along and emergence was on its way, but it’s been a less than ideal planting season for many pockets of the Midwest. 

It’s the first mechanical breakdown of the season on Joel Barickman’s operation in Ancona, Ill.

“A hose busted inside the frame of the planter,” said Barickman. 

Yet, it happened at a good time, days before rain drowned fields in Illinois. 

“We got heavy rains coming, and I wanted to get my pre-emergent down over the top of the corn before these rains,” said Barickman before the storms. 

Mother Nature delivered those rains, up to six inches in Barickman’s location. While he is out of commission for now, Barickman had a good start to the year. 

“Most people were 60 to 70 percent done with corn around here [before the storms],” said Barickman. “Others are completely done with corn.”

Matt Nelson, a farmer from Burt County in northeast Nebraska, is a farmer who hasn’t moved the planter at all. 

“I have cows out in part of my field,” said Nelson. “I have plenty of things to do before I get in the field.” 

He was ready to plant the end of April but held off before two inches of rain moved into his area last weekend. He says farmers who planted are worried about emergence, stands and may face a replant. 

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

Jim Smith, a farmer from Grabill, Ind., has yet to put a seed in the ground. He was ready the day before the rain turned on but decided to wait. 

“The biggest deal is we’ve had a rain event then another rain event that’s kept us out of the field long enough to not get anything accomplished,” said Smith. 

Farmers who hug the Ohio border like Smith need a good year. Weather has been anything but ideal the last couple of growing season. He received four inches of rain in 11 days the last half of April. 

“We had 2015 where we only planted 40 percent of our crop,” said Smith. “This field didn’t get planted. Last year we were in that micro-drought so we didn’t have APH yields on corn. We’re anxious for a good growing season for 2017.” 

There’s a crop in the ground in western Iowa. Craig Douglas, a farmer from Adair, Ia., has roughly half of his corn and soybeans planted. 

He received over 2.5 inches of rain last weekend, even though the soil profile is full, he hopes to get back in the field soon. 

“We just need it to quit raining and have the sun come out and warm up to 80 degrees and we’re ready to roll,” said Douglas.

When AgDay first caught up with Josh Schumacher during the I-80 Planting Tour in Pandora, Ohio, he was testing his planter.

Now, he is almost done planting corn and soybeans. He’s had mostly dry weather except for when the storms came through over a week ago. He says the area is wet with little puddles but he’s more worried about cold and the potential of a May frost. 

“We need warm nights so the ground temperature is good enough for the seed to grow,” said Schumacher.

Many across the country will wait it out and hope they can roll their planters in the fields again soon. 

“I planted some before and some after the rain,” said Barickman. “I hope it is going to hedge my risk and I think I’ll be in a good position.”

Story aired 5/6/17.

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Spell Check

Joe farmer
Anywhere, TX
5/9/2017 12:28 PM

  Boo hoo Midwest farmers, Texas has had floods at planting 2 years in a row so maybe it's our turn now. By the way our corn is at tassel stage now !

auburn, IN
5/25/2017 12:31 PM

  to poor Joe farmer, when you get to 4 years in a row you can start crying, from another farmer


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