Saturated soils, cool weather delay planting
Saturday, May 03, 2014 12:00 AM
DELPHOS -- Although the target date for planting corn crops is May 10, excessive rain and cooler temperatures have farmers in northwest Ohio anticipating getting out into the fields to begin spring planting.
Van Wert County Ohio State University Extension Educator Dr. Curtis Young said Ohio is experiencing a typical spring and the weather is not unusual.
“We need a good week of sunshine and soils need to warm up,” Young explained. “If seeds would have been planted earlier in the season, they would be laying there rotting.”
Soils need to be dry enough to get into the fields or equipment will cause soil compaction which leads to other problems.
United Equity Fertilizer Plant Manager Dan Haehn said as soon as soils dry, farmers can get their rigs back out in the field to perform chemical burn down.
“A chemical burn down is an application of herbicide — similar to Roundup homeowners use — to kill weeds in the fields,” Haehn explained. “Beans can be planted one to two weeks after the application.”
One good thing has come from the increased rain totals this spring.
“Once things get planted there will be a 1 1/2 - 2 inch deep sublayer of moisture ideal for planting corn and soybeans,” Haehn said.
“The soil needs to be dry enough, but not so dry that there is not moisture to germinate the seed,” Young said.
He added there were a couple of years where late March to early April planting occurred.
Putnam County’s Ohio State University Extension Educator James Hoorman reported that local farmers who have a higher concentration of sand in their cornfields have done some planting.
“Some fields have been planted here and there,” Hoorman said. “They have planted only about 3 or 4 percent.”
He said recent rain accumulations have been close to an inch or more. Looking at the long range weather over the growing season, farmers are anticipating an increase in rainfall of 10 percent.
“Even though the ground is still very cold and wet, some farmers have planted oats, which need a 42 degree soil temperature to germinate,” Hoorman explained.
“We need to be careful when perceiving weather conditions,” Young explained. “Farmers have not missed an opportunity to do planting this year; we have not had that day, as of yet.”
Young said in past decades, when it came to planting, it may have taken weeks and now, with all the technology, an entire core crop can be planted in a week.
Hoorman said farmers know there’s no sense in planting $300 a bushel corn if it’s going to rot and they just have to plant again.
“It takes 2-3 days for seed to germinate and in perfect conditions, you can expect to see growth above the ground,” he explained.
Haehn reported that commodity prices have fallen lower this year than in the last two years and maximizing yields is crucial to compensate for lower prices.
“At this time last year, a bushel of corn brought in $7-$8 and today, it’s running $4-$5 a bushel,” he detailed. “The price depends on the supply and demand and speculation.”
Young said last year corn crops did very well and it was a nice year for corn production.
“We had the right weather for establishing the crops and intermittent moisture throughout the season,” he confirmed. “Soybeans did not do as well and they were average.”