Area farmers struggling to get out and plant

Heavy rains have forced farmers to hold off on planting their crops, which could affect their bottom line

Posted: Apr 30, 2019 3:51 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2019 12:03 PM

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WFFT) - The saying "knee high by July" is typically a good indication of a good corn crop, but for that to happen, farmers are supposed to be knee deep in work by now, but some can't even get out into their fields.

The culprit? Mother Nature. Heavy rain and colder-than-average temperatures have forced many farmers to stay inside.

Bill Horan with the Purdue Extension office in Wells County says farmers will have to wait a bit longer to get planting.

"We're getting more rain this week, so that's going to set us back another 4, 5 days, even if it stopped raining today, before people get out into the field. So, it's going to be a late planting season for sure," Horan said.

A late planting season has some drawbacks when it comes to yield potential, which are forcing some farmers into making tough choices.

Horan said, "At this point, people are probably making decisions on whether they're going to be shifting from some fields of corn to soybeans because of the later planting or they may be shifting varieties of corn, going with shorter season corn compared to longer season corn."

Switching to soybeans or to a shorter growing season corn will help maximize the yield, meaning farmers maximize profits, but late April and early May is the best time to plant corn. For soybeans, it's up until early June.

In 2018, farmers had trouble with rain, as with the year before, and those were record and near-record years for yield. There's a lot of the growing season left to go, so it's not time to panic yet, but if farmers can't get into the fields soon, a lower-yield combined with low commodity prices for corn and soybeans could mean they struggle to be successful.

Horan said, "To expect another record-yield almost 3 years in a row is probably not likely. So, the scenario is not real favorable this year being profitable for farmers."

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