When it comes to crops, Ron Bruner of Highland County deals with asparagus, rhubarb and corn. The cool, wet ground conditions in Ohio last week were ideal for his perennial crops but did nothing for his corn, which Bruner has yet to plant.
“The rain held off this past week but the ground is still too wet to plant,” said Bruner, who tends to 175 acres of corn in addition to those two perennial crops. “The cool temperatures have slowed down the drying of the soil, but we’re not in any panic mode yet. This time last year we had horrible growing conditions for asparagus and rhubarb, just the opposite for corn. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
According to reports released by the USDA, NASS Great Lakes Region for the week ending April 28, there were just two days suitable for field work. Continued rain and below normal temperatures kept field work to a minimum across most of the state.
“The first two crops to emerge in Ohio each spring are asparagus and rhubarb and those two will be bumper crops this spring, but we need that dry window to get the corn in the ground,” Bruner said.
Last year at this time nearly 48 percent of corn in Ohio was planted. Due to wet soil conditions the past three weeks just two percent of the corn has been planted. The five-year average for this crop at this time was 22 percent.
The latest NASS report indicates that showers in April across the state have greatly replenished soil moisture, though there have been no reports of flooding in wheat and hay fields. Many producers continue planting oats but are waiting for dry soil and warmer temperatures to begin planting corn. Oats are emerging at a slower rate than usual and winter wheat appears good, although additional rain could adversely affect growth.
Oats planted are at 52 percent. Fifty-six percent of winter wheat is rated in good condition. “A friend of mine grows corn in Darke County, sixty miles from me,” Bruner said, “and he’s been in his fields all week long. We need those kinds of conditions here in Highland County.”
Sixty-four percent of Ohio soils rated as adequate, but 27 percent sees a surplus in moisture.
By Doug Graves
The week ending April 28, 2013 began with unfavorable conditions, but dry and warmer weather across Iowa late in the week allowed fieldwork to resume, according to the April 29 Iowa Crop & Weather Report.
“The cool wet weather across the state at the beginning of last week prevented most farmers from getting in the field, but we could see quite a bit of activity if the recent warm dry weather hangs on for a few more days,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.
This April has been the wettest Iowa has seen in the 141 years of weather records, “and the result has been a very slow start to the planting season,” Northey added. State Meteorologist Harry Hillaker said a few areas from west central into north central Iowa picked up more than an inch of rain, while snow accumulated up to six inches in Lyon County.
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economist Dave Miller said “unusually-cold spring weather is causing new concerns for Iowa’s delayed planting season. The 2012 drought depleted the nation’s reserves making this year’s crop a crucial one for global market exports, biofuel production and livestock farmers.”
The report said topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short to 14 percent surplus. Although oat planting picked up the pace and was 45 percent complete, the report added that it was well behind last year’s 97 percent, with Iowa farmers beginning to plant a small amount of corn.
Virgil Schmitt, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist, said “we have surpassed 200 Growing Degree Days (GDD) (base 48, from Jan. 1) south of Interstate 80, which suggests that it is time to scout south-facing slopes for Alfalfa Weevil there.”
By Doug Schmitz
Soil conditions throughout Kentucky have been better than good as topsoil moisture in April surveyed 98 percent good to excellent. Subsoil moisture surveyed at 95 percent good to excellent. Temperatures have been rising. Precipitation is slightly above normal, and that accounts for the good soil.
Bob Thurston is employed as a statistician in the Louisville field office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS). At the end of April, Thornton said the outlook for crops in Kentucky now depends on the weather.
“Everything is one or two weeks behind normal, because it has stayed wet and farmers are having trouble getting into the field,” he reported.
Additionally he said, “I haven’t heard indications that the recent cold snap has damaged anything. I don’t believe it got far enough south to hurt the wheat.”
As of April 22, 15 percent of the corn had been planted which is well behind last year’s 73 percent and the five-year average of 32 percent. Winter wheat is reported in mostly good to excellent condition with 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 12 percent fair, 60 percent good and 25 percent excellent.
Kentucky corn is behind last year. Winter wheat is in good condition and percentage of plants heading in April was behind the five-year average. Seeded tobacco was healthy, but less than five inches high.
The pasture condition was reported mostly good. The first cutting of alfalfa is forecast for May 8.
By Bob Riggs