Soggy Spring Stalls Planting

When the calendar turns to April, farm work normally is in high gear. But soggy fields are staying soggy, leaving grain producers with little opportunity to get any work accomplished.

For example, Kentucky reports that its growers are well behind on their spring work.

"There’s no corn in the ground here at all," says Rankin Powell, Union County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. "Over the past 10 years, we would generally have a good bit of corn in the ground by now and all our anhydrous ammonia. We’ve only put out about 10 percent of the anhydrous."

Union County is the state’s top corn producing county, and Powell says growers there generally begin planting corn in late March with the goal of having their 85,000 to 90,000 acres planted by April 15. Many of the Ohio River bottom fields were just beginning to see water recede before last week’s rainfall again raised water levels and continued flooding these fields.

So what’s to blame for these soggy conditions? Blame it on a weather maker called La Nina, said Tom Priddy, UK agricultural meteorologist. La Niña is cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean that impact global weather patterns. This weather maker brings wet winters, and that’s been the case this year. Some forecasts are calling for it to hang around into the spring and summer. But here’s the kicker. La Nina tends to turn off the water spigot in summer months.

The cool, wet weather conditions may result in stand establishment and soil compaction concerns for many Hoosier farmers, says a Purdue University expert.

"With these wet conditions, either on ground needing spring tillage or on no-till ground, farmers may be left with the decision of getting seed into the ground at the risk of soil compaction," says Corey Gerber, director of the Purdue Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center.

"When compaction issues are combined with cool temperatures, the seed will tend not to germinate as quickly as we would like," Gerber says. "This is when diseases and insects like wireworm and seedcorn maggot readily attack the seed, potentially resulting in uneven stand establishment and lower plant populations than originally desired."

If this occurs, producers may need to think about replanting and that’s a tough decision to make, Gerber adds.

"When considering whether to replant or not, a producer needs to take into account the extent of damage, the original plant population, the original planting date, expected replanting date, expected replanting costs, the expected market price, and the expected yield," Gerber says.

The 2008 "Purdue Extension Corn and Soybean Field Guide" provides guidance and tools that can help make some of these tough decisions a bit simpler for farmers. The pocketbook sized in-field reference is still available for purchase and will provide applicable information for row crop producers, crop specialists, and educators throughout the Corn Belt.

The field guide includes photos for easier identification of insects, weeds, plant diseases, herbicide injuries and nutrient deficiencies. The pesticide tables, which include herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, have been updated for 2008, and a few minor adjustments have been made to the fertility section.

The field guide is $6, and can be ordered from the Purdue Education Store at https://secure.agriculture.purdue.edu/store/item.asp?itemID=18540 or
(888) EXT-INFO. A form for mail orders can be downloaded at http://www.agry.purdue.edu/dtc/guide.html.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
ManagementTrip Report, PSM R.I.P, and Ag’s Reaction to Federal Bu…
May 25, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent travels, the end for Process Safety Management (PSM), and how Read More
Corn soil
LegislationARA Member Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee
May 25, 2017
Agricultural retailers stand on the front-lines of the American economy. As trusted advisors to America’s farmers, ag retailers are uniquely Read More
Young corn plants in soil
Crop InputsFortenza Insecticide Seed Treatment Receives EPA Regist…
May 25, 2017
Fortenza seed treatment insecticide from Syngenta has received registration approval from the U.S. EPA for use on corn and cotton Read More
ManagementFarm Market iD’s Agriculture Database Now Covers More T…
May 25, 2017
Farm Market iD, farmmarketid.com, has announced the release of its 2017 Annual Update of its farm and land database. The Read More
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Precision AgThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens …
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More