Rain and cold were plaguing Ohio farmers as April neared its end, and corn seed is better off in the bag right now than in the ground, said Gail Lierer. With her husband, Dave, she farms 550 acres in Butler County. Lierer also has a crop insurance business.
“We don’t have any corn planting done,” she said. “I don’t want to put that kind of money in the ground when we have such cold weather. We planted April 23 last year. Then we got rained out and waited about two or three weeks to get back in the field.
“We finished in early May. The later corn did better, so that is why we’re not in a rush; it is better to have it a little warmer.”
The Lierers don’t raise wheat but farmers she had talked with told her this looked to be one of better wheat crops.
“They’re very happy with how they got on the field, how they got the urea and nitrogen on in a timely manner and the wheat really looks good,” Lierer said.
The NASS report for the week ending April 21 goes along with her assessment. Only 1 percent of the state’s corn crop is planted, compared to 31 percent last year and 12 percent for the five-year average.
The report rated 60 percent of the winter wheat crop as good and 12 percent as excellent. The rain has been beneficial for the wheat, which is in a rapid growth phase, and overall the crop looked good.
Oats planted is 39 percent complete, compared to 77 percent last year and 47 percent for the five-year average. Oats were 12 percent emerged; that percentage was 34 percent last year and 15 for the five-year average.
The report stated that rain kept farmers out of the field for all but two days, particularly in the northern and western parts of the state where heavy rains and flooding occurred.
By Celeste Baumgartner
Wet conditions in Iowa during the week ending April 21 continued to limit fieldwork, with snow reported in northern Iowa, while precipitation was mostly rain in southern Iowa.
“Nearly the entire state continued to receive needed moisture this past week,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, “but the cool, wet weather prevented pretty much all fieldwork in the state. Farmers are starting to get anxious to get in the field, but if we do get some warm dry weather, there is still time to get crops planted in a timely manner.”
The April 22 Iowa Crop & Weather report said oat planting was 22 percent complete, although far behind last year’s 93 percent and the five-year average of 68 percent.
Jeff Blauwet, an agronomist with Farmers Elevator Co-op in Doon, advised farmers not to “jump the gun” in planting “until it is fit and the soil temperature is 50 degrees and the forecast will keep it there.
“We can’t afford a pile of replant acres this year,” he said.
“There is ample data out there where we really aren’t losing much yield potential historically on corn as long as it is planted by May 5-10.”
Clarke McGrath, Iowa State University field agronomist, said, “Our ‘optimum’ planting window is here, and we aren’t that far from seeing yield losses based on later planting. So, when guys get into the field, it will be like the two-minute offense in football,” he said.
“Things will be moving fast, and everyone on the team – growers, seed suppliers, fertilizer dealers, custom applicators, field workers, agronomists – will have to coordinate and do things nearly perfectly to get this crop in by the end of the first week of May or so.”
By Doug Schmitz
Compared to last year at this time, Kentucky farmers have fallen well behind in planting – but 2012 was not a good year by which to gauge anything. The usual early warm conditions gave producers the opportunity to get crops, especially corn, out early, only to be stricken with the worst drought conditions seen in decades.
Corn planting in Kentucky was reported to be only 15 percent complete as of the April 22 NASS Kentucky field office report. That is way off the 73 percent mark hit by farmers last year and off the five-year average of 32 percent.
Wet weather has kept fields too moist to plant. Precipitation averaged 1.64 inches statewide, 0.66 inch above normal, according to the NASS report.
Topsoil moisture was rated 2 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 27 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture was rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus; days suitable for fieldwork averaged 3.9 out of a possible seven, according to NASS.
Chad Lee, a grain crops specialist at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture said farmers should be patient and let fields dry before trying to plant.
The state’s winter wheat crop looks to be in good shape. The NASS report noted the crop was rated as 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 12 percent fair, 60 percent good and 25 percent excellent.
Seeded tobacco transplants were also reported to be in good condition, with 1 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 64 percent good and 14 percent excellent.
Pasture conditions have rebounded from last year’s massive drought. The latest NASS report listed conditions as being only 2 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 48 percent good and 8 percent excellent. The state’s first projected cutting of alfalfa is May 8.
For strawberry producers, the crop was rated as being 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 55 percent good and 7 percent excellent.
By Tim Thornberry