WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Farmers have taken advantage of dry
days and warming temperatures to catch up to a higher level of planting. In
fact, progress for both corn and soybean planting now is above the five-year
average in Indiana.
While the number of acres planted has increased, there is a
mixed bag of results across the state. Because of excessive rain causing
flooding, some farmers still are struggling to get seed in the ground, which is
especially true in southern Indiana.
“We’re in pretty good shape on a statewide basis,” said Bob
Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist. “Reports from the USDA indicated that
statewide we were 86 percent done with corn.”
Nielsen noted that the numbers vary greatly between
northern, central and southern regions of Indiana. The southern third of the
state only has 59 percent of corn planted, according to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Central Indiana has 88 percent in the ground. And the
northern third of the state is nearly finished planting corn, with 97 percent in
the ground as of the week ending May 26.
“Some of the guys in the southern third are still struggling
to finish up planting corn,” Nielsen said.
“I’d guess if they continue to be late, they may consider
shifting to soybean acres. That remains to be seen.
“Soybeans are also delayed at this point. Statewide, only 60
percent is done, so there’s still a fair amount of soybeans to be
Although the number varies from field to field, the state
still is exceeding five-year planting averages.
“With corn, we are ahead of the five-year average of 77
percent, but behind last year, which was 99 percent,” said Greg Matli, Indiana
state statistician for the NASS. “This year, we are well ahead of 2009, when
only about 62 percent of the corn crop had been planted at this same
Matli said that the record early corn planting was in 2001,
when 100 percent of the corn crop had been planted by May 20. On the other hand,
the record late corn planting season was in 1996, when only 84 percent of corn
had been planted by June 20.
Soybean planting is 60-percent complete, ahead of the
five-year average of 49 percent complete, but also behind last year’s rates.
Matli said that the record yield for soybeans was 51.5
bushels per acres in 2004. The planting conditions that year were good, but it
was not a record early planting.
“In the past three weeks, we’ve planted more than
three-quarters of the corn,” Nielsen said. “With today’s larger field equipment,
when we do get good working days, we can make a lot of progress. The big issue
is getting those good working days. We continue to get rain systems that delay
us a few days every week, and it continues to slow progress.”
Nielsen said that the fields he’s seen in northern Indiana
are looking good in terms of how the plants are emerging. In areas where crops
have been planted, he said, they are doing well.
“If or when we get these douses of rain that cause standing
water in the fields, that’s going to take its toll,” he noted. “It’s unclear how
many fields have been severely damaged by rainfall. But when all of us think to
the drought, we are thankful for the rain, even if it’s a bit excessive. The
alternative of last year isn’t anything we want to visit again.”
Whether replanting is necessary in flooded fields remains to
be seen. Nielsen reported that it depends on the severity of the
“Where there’s been enough rain to cause serious damage,
something will need to be done,” he said. “It may mean replanting corn. The
determining factor is mostly related to whether you’ve already got corn
herbicides applied. If you do, it forces you back into corn. Again, it’ll be a
mix of results in that regard and on a field-by-field basis.”
Nielsen advised farmers to keep a close watch on fields as
they finish planting this season. He suggested farmers walk through their
fields, look for problems and identify those problems as they find them.