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Inclement weather still plagues planting season in the Midwest
 
By Doug Schmitz
Iowa Correspondent

COATESVILLE, Ind. – According to Coatesville corn and soybean producer Mark Legan, this has been a difficult and stressful planting season.
“After a very dry winter, April ended up 2.5-3 inches of rain above normal, and May continued wet,” he told Farm World. “The earliest crops in our area planted the last third of April look very good.
“After that, it seems like we were pushing the ground the rest of the spring,” he said. “About the time the ground would get right, it would rain again. Most people in our area are finishing up planting the first time. We finished a week ago Monday, but replanted quite a bit of corn planted May 6, on poorly drained ground that saw 5-plus inches of rain the 10 days after planting.”
He said, “Some of our late-planted soybeans are concerning, and we will evaluate their stand in the next few days, and may have to thicken them up. While not the ideal start for the crop, compared to what we had last year, we still think the crop has potential for a decent year.”
Stan Born, Lovington, Ill., corn and soybean farmer, told Farm World, “I am one of the fortunate few who have completed #Plant24 (#Plant24 refers to the 2024 planting season).
“Conditions never became ideal, but between watching the calendar and the radar, we rolled the dice, and the planter is getting the job done,” he said. “The good news is, thanks to ample moisture and warmth, crops emerged quickly. I started planting beans April 26, took a break for a couple weeks, then finished on Mother’s Day.”
Dennis Todey, USDA Midwest Climate Hub hub director in Ames, Iowa, told Farm World, “Precipitation has been mixed across the area. Iowa has received recent heavy rains, while some dryness in Illinois has led to a dust storm on Tuesday (May 21) this week. Crop progress has continued, but has been sporadic across states.
“Soybean planting is mostly ahead of the five-year average in the eastern Corn Belt, but behind in the west,” he said. “Corn planting is mostly behind in the central to eastern Corn Belt, while well ahead in the north.
“Much of this has to do with locations of wetter and drier soils,” he added. “Winter wheat conditions are generally good, although they have dropped slightly. Winter wheat progress is well ahead of the five-year average – 12 percent nationally, but mostly double-digit ahead of average in the eastern Corn Belt; 34 percent ahead in Ohio; 20 percent in Michigan; and 19 percent in Indiana.”
He said, “The variability is crop progress across the region. We have states ranging from well ahead to well behind on corn and soybeans. Locational differences are interesting, but they do follow with what soil conditions are like. The winter wheat progress was also impressive, too.”
In Indiana, another week of warmer-than-normal temperatures and above-average rainfall aided emergence on fields that were planted, but kept low-lying fields saturated and unable to be worked, the USDA said. Corn and soybean planting progressed approximately on pace with the five-year average at 54 percent and 49 percent planted, respectively. Some farmers reported that limited replanting would be necessary. Winter wheat progress was notably ahead of the five-year averages for both jointing and heading.
In Illinois, corn planted reached 67 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 71 percent. Corn emerged reached 49 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 44 percent. Soybeans planted reached 58 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 56 percent. Soybeans emerged reached 31 percent, compared to the 5-year average of 29 percent. 
In Michigan, producers welcomed much-needed warm, dry weather to make good planting progress. Wheat stripe rust made an unexpected appearance in winter wheat fields across the state. The crop was 72 percent good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. Corn and soybean emergence was quick, and stands appeared very good in most areas.
In Ohio, farmers reported fieldwork and planting was slow, with the intermittent rain showers the previous week. Corn and soybean planting progressed to 46 percent, and 41 percent planted, respectively. Oats were 86 percent planted. Winter wheat was 70 percent headed, and winter wheat condition was 73 percent good to excellent. Oats condition was 74 percent good to excellent.
In Kentucky, fieldwork was disrupted by scattered precipitation throughout the week, the third consecutive, with above-normal rainfall. Replanting is on the horizon for producers in this situation as river bottoms were particularly susceptible. There is some growing concern as time is getting tight for corn planting. Both corn and soybeans are running behind last year due to the unstable weather. Forty-nine percent of planted corn has emerged, while 31 percent of soybeans have reached that stage.
In Tennessee, another week was marked by rain, with windy and wet conditions prevailing, thus continuing to delay fieldwork progress. In between rain showers, producers are hard at work finishing corn, cotton, and soybean planting. The earlier-planted corn is growing quickly, with the favorable moisture. Winter wheat is almost fully-headed and quickly maturing as well.
In Iowa, Mike Naig, Iowa agriculture secretary, said, “An active weather pattern, along with stronger thunderstorms, is expected to continue, and may bring more frustrating planting delays.”
Seventy-eight percent of the state’s expected corn crop has been planted, and 47 percent has emerged. Sixty-one percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, and nearly one-quarter has emerged. Ninety-one percent of the expected oat crop has emerged, and 17 percent has headed. Ten percent of the first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed.
For the three-week forecast, Todey said, “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center outlook is interesting for the region. Temperatures are mostly closer to average throughout the period after a slightly cooler period in the first week. Precipitation leans toward the below-average early, and then moves to more likely above-average 
5/28/2024