Rushville Republican

Agriculture

May 13, 2013

Drought behind them, farmers now deal with too much water

RUSHVILLE — Last year, farmers didn’t have nearly enough rain for their wilted, drought-ravaged crops. So far this year, they have too much of it - so much that they can’t get into their fields to work them for planting.

The stark contrast in conditions illustrates an annual, monthly and sometimes daily reality that farmers have to contend with as part of their jobs - uncertainties of the weather and their dependence on it.

“The challenge farmers have is in dealing with extremes,” said Purdue Extension agronomist Tony Vyn, who advises farmers on the best tillage methods for different crops and soils.

Indeed, Indiana farmers are almost getting used to dealing with both extremes - what Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Nielsen refers to as “roller coaster years” of late.

“Over the past few years, in the even-numbered years we’ve had early planting, and in the odd-numbered years we’ve had late planting,” he noted.

This year, true to form, the problem is late planting. It has been so slow that it is among the five slowest years for spring planting in the past 20, Nielsen said.

Indiana had the seventh-wettest April on record, with a statewide average of 6.4 inches of precipitation - nearly 3 inches above normal.

As a result, only 1 percent of Indiana’s corn crop was planted by the week ending April 28, compared with 67 percent last year - an even-numbered year when some farmers planted as early as March - and the five-year average of 30 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Soybeans are not yet reported because they typically are planted a few weeks later than corn.

Depending on conditions of individual fields, farmers would need several days for fields to dry to the point where they can work in them. Unlike a homeowner mowing the lawn just hours after a rain, farmers can’t just drive their equipment onto their fields so soon.

“It’s different for farmers,” Vyn said. “They shouldn’t be out there.”

Heavy farm equipment on a wet field can compact the soil, and seeds planted in compacted soil might not grow the necessary root systems for optimal plant development.

Vyn advises farmers anxious to get into their fields not to succumb to three common tillage temptations: tilling too early or too often and when it’s too wet. He says farmers need to be patient and wait for a break in the weather.

That break will come, but slowly. The outlook for the first half of May is continued frequent rainfall with below-normal temperatures for Indiana, said the State Climate Office, based at Purdue University. Both temperature and rainfall should moderate to more typical May conditions later in the month. At this time of year, normal rainfall is near 1 inch per week.

When farmers do get into their fields, Nielsen says 25 percent to 30 percent of the corn crop could be planted in a week and the rest of it a week later - still in time for maximum yield potential.

“So we can catch up pretty fast,” he said.

Yield potential typically is greatest in Indiana when corn is planted by May 10, but tillage, soil fertility, and mid-summer rainfall and temperatures are among many other factors that influence yield.

“By itself, delayed planting isn’t a sure path to lower yields,” Nielsen said.

Farmers in 2009, for example, had planted only 20 percent of the crop by late April because of wet conditions, yet their yield at harvest was 9 percent above trend.

But if farmers can’t get into their fields by mid- to late May, they might have to decide whether to plant hybrid seeds other than they originally planned. The switch would be to a hybrid that would take less time to mature so the crop could be harvested before the threat of an autumn killing freeze. The tradeoff for them, however, is that such earlier-maturing seeds might not yield as much grain and, consequently, not as much income.

Detailed information on what farmers would need to consider if they are seriously delayed in planting corn is available at http://www.agry.purdue.edu/ext/corn/news/timeless/HybridMaturityDelayedPlant.html.

Weather conditions in early May aren’t crucial for soybeans since many farmers plant their corn ahead of soybeans. Planting of soybeans, therefore, also could be delayed. Soybean farmers usually are at the early stages of planting at this point, with nearly half of the crop planted by May 20. Planting can extend well into June.

Still, eventually soybean farmers, too, will depend on the weather for favorable conditions so they can do their job.

“Just because it’s a day in a workweek doesn’t mean you can get out in the fields to work,” said Shaun Casteel, Purdue Extension soybean specialist. “A person working in an office goes to work rain or shine. Not so for farmers.”

– Rushville Republican

 

1
Text Only
Agriculture
  • Extension farm tour to feature organic vegetable production WEST LAFAYETTE - The organic vegetable production and fertility management practices at an Ohio farm will be showcased in a Purdue Extension tour of the operation near Cincinnati.The tour will be from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 5 at EcOhio Farm, 2210 S. Mas

    July 18, 2014

  • ag-rv071814-soybean variety pic Gene discovery could lead to better soybean varieties for northern United States WEST LAFAYETTE – Researchers from Purdue University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have discovered a soybean gene whose mutation affects plant stem growth, a finding that could lead to the development of improved soybean cultivars for the nor

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • U.S. farmers plant record soybean crop, less corn DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The nation’s farmers planted the largest soybean crop on record this year by devoting millions of acres of land to the crop that had been used for growing corn, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday.Farmers planted 84

    July 3, 2014

  • Manure Management Field Day presents new technology NORTH MANCHESTER — The Wabash County Soil & Water Conservation District and the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative will host a free Manure Management Field Day on July 29th at Brubaker Farms. The half-day program will address application techno

    July 3, 2014

  • Purdue, OSU assisting in ag meeting for Corn Belt farmers WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue and Ohio State Universities are part of an organization that is sponsoring a meeting this summer to help Corn Belt farmers make their agricultural systems more resilient and sustainable.The Resilient Agriculture Conference Au

    June 27, 2014

  • Farm Credit supports Rushville City FD training efforts RUSHVILLE — Farm Credit Mid-America, an agricultural lending cooperative serving farmers, rural residents and agribusinesses throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, contributed $500 to the Rushville City Fire Department. The funds were used

    June 27, 2014

  • ag-rv062714-problem weeds pic Latest weed control advances in corn, cotton COLLEGE STATION — The latest strategies in managing problem weeds in corn and cotton were recently showcased at the 2014 Crop Tour at the Texas A&M University field laboratory near College Station that serves as a research and teaching platform for T

    June 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farm Credit salutes Rushville FFA graduating seniors RUSHVILLE — Farm Credit Mid-America, an agricultural lending cooperative serving farmers, rural residents and agribusinesses throughout Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, contributed $500 to support the 2014 Rushville FFA banquet, themed “Legacy

    June 27, 2014

  • Purdue fruit, vegetable food safety course now offered online WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue Extension is now offering in an online format a course covering food safety practices for fruit and vegetable growers.The course is based on a series of Good Agricultural Practices from A to Z workshops that were given in the

    June 20, 2014

  • Purdue field day to feature conservation drainage practices WEST LAFAYETTE - An innovative, two-stage conservation drainage ditch and nitrate-reducing system will be showcased at a June 17 field day sponsored by Purdue Extension. The Conservation Drainage Field Day will be held 9-10:30 a.m. at the Throckmort

    June 13, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.