Varied Weather Causes Uneven Start For Farmers

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(file photo) (file photo)
WEST LAFAYETTE -

A corn specialist with Purdue Extension says the growing season in Indiana has gotten off to a very uneven start. Bob Nielsen says heavy rains in April and May left standing water and delayed planting in many parts of the state, while other areas have experienced unusually hot and dry conditions.

Nielsen says, even on the same property, farmers have seen healthy green plants in a few places, with wilted yellow plants in other parts. He says the mixed conditions have made it hard to get a fix the entire state.

Meanwhile, Purdue Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel says Indiana is seeing similar results for soybeans.

"It’s not outstanding, by any means," said Casteel. "Many of the soybean fields experienced the same wet and cold soils as the corn did early on whereas other soybean fields were delayed in planting as farmers were replanting the corn. The final string of fields were delayed in establishment and development as the weather pendulum swung to the hot and dry conditions in the first weeks of June."

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture weekly crop progress report shows only 45 percent of the state's corn crop was in "good" or "excellent" condition, down from 72 percent at the same time last year. Only 52 percent of soybeans are listed as "good" or "excellent," compared with 72 percent in 2016 as well.

However, Purdue Extension agricultural economist Chris Hurt says corn and soybean producers must be patient and hope for better weather. 

"Give this crop some time," said Hurt. "Much of the yield is still to be determined. We’ve gotten off to a tough start but the rest of the season is what’s important."

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