Weather Delays Spring Planting Season

It has been a cold, wet spring which has caused farmers to be a bit tardy in getting fields planted throughout the state, but Chad Rushing, agriculture and natural resources educator at Purdue Extension in Starke County, said it’s still in the window of time where crops will produce optimum yields.

“We’re a little bit behind schedule, but everything is still on track for maximum yield potential,” said Rushing. “Planting is delayed. Corn is usually at about 20 percent planted by now and it’s about one percent across the state.”

Flooding has not been a concern, but ponding has been troublesome.

“I know in Starke County we received about five inches of rain in April so we do still have some standing water in the field that has delayed producers the ability to get out there and till, apply nitrogen, or herbicides,” said Rushing.

Farmers are getting ready to plan corn and soybeans in this area. Rushing noted that mint has already been planted in some fields.

“There was mint planted early in April. Mint is not as sensitive to the cool temperatures as corn is so we did get a majority of the mint planted before the heavy rains in the middle of the month,” Rushing explained.

One big concern that producers are facing is the timely termination of cover crops and action is being sought to move ahead with planting despite that delay.

“Purdue has contacted the USDA and the risk management agency with a petition to allow producers to seek an agreement to plant into a living cover crop with the intent to terminate the cover crop immediately, or following planting, and still remain covered by the insurance,” said Rushing.

Cover crops help maintain soil quality and prevent considerable run-off in the winter months.

Watch for farmers out in the fields this week as the weather has been pleasant enough to try and get crops into the ground. Air temperatures and soil temperatures are rising so it’s reaching a good planting window for our area farmers.