Spring Planting Behind Schedule

Starke County farmers, like those in neighboring counties, are up against a deadline for getting their corn crop in the ground. County Extension Director Alan Kurtz said yesterday that the corn crop ideally should have been in a month ago.

“It’s not so much a specific date, but we have a trend as you go over time, that the later the gets the lower your yield potential may be,” said Kurtz. “We’re getting into the time frame now as we come into early June where farmers are facing that decision of whether it’s worth continuing to plant corn or to consider other options.”

Kurtz said that only 59% of the crop is in the ground so far this year, compared with 93% at this time last year. With a possibility of some good weather this week, could the farmers catch up?

“Well, they can’t catch up to where they might have been if they could have planted a month ago which would have been ideal, but they do have a potential here if they have good weather for a week or two to get a lot of corn in the ground. They could nearly finish up corn planting this week and turn to soybean planting and get that wrapped up in the next few weeks as well.”

Some farmers are already trying to decide whether to plant soybeans on ground that they had planned to use for corn.

“A lot of those decisions are made on financial considerations, based on the profitability of planting one crop versus the other. If they’re considering making a switch to a different crop, in this case switching to soybeans, there are sometimes some difficulties, based on what products may have been applied to a field that was intended to go into corn that could potentially restrict someone from making a change. The biggest thing is trying to make that determination of what is the most profitable thing to do. Is it better to continue with the corn, the original plan, or switch to something different.”

Kurtz said that last year the weather was ideal for planting and harvesting, but in July we experienced a drought.

One hedge that some farmers have is Prevented Planting Insurance that would pay a percentage of the anticipated crop if they cannot it into the ground.