INDIANAPOLIS — Rainy weather has created stressful conditions for Hoosier farmers as many race to finish planting.
Stephanie Smith, agronomist at Golden Harvest, said this spring is one for the record books. Folks weren’t able to plant as many corn acres as they intended to due to rain.
Now, it’s a race to plant soybeans.
“I think it’s too late to plant corn now, unless we’re chopping it for silage, or we absolutely need it for livestock feed,” Smith said. “My recommendation is not to plant corn at this point.
“We’re still OK with soybeans. We’re losing yield potential because we don’t have canopy because we’re just now planting.”
With continued rain in the forecast, farmers and agronomists alike are worried about plant conditions.
“The bad part about all of the rain in the forecast is we will lose emergence,” Smith said. “Drowned out spots are inevitable. Seedling diseases are inevitable if we get this rain.
“I’ve seen Pythium across the area. Fusarium will be an issue. The other thing is that, about every field I walk into, I see sulfur deficiency. Mobile nutrients, and how we manage those this season, will be problematic with all of this rainfall.”
When asked what tips she’d share with farmers, Smith said to seize every opportunity to finish planting.
No matter how rushed farmers may be, safety should come first.
“I do worry about farmers’ safety and their mental status,” Smith said. “This is their career. None of us have been able to execute Plan A this year. It’s frustrating. We’re rushed. They’re not sleeping a lot.
“Physical and mental health will be a very strong consideration as we progress. But we do the best we can, and that’s why some years we reap the benefits of doing well — to prepare for years of doing not so good.”
Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, spoke out about the challenges farmers are facing.
“This is a difficult time right now for a lot of our nation’s farmers, particularly those who hail from my home state of Indiana,” he said. “Adverse weather conditions have complicated the planting season.
“This is putting so many of our farmers in a difficult spot. The June 5 deadline, by which one can plant and still be eligible for full crop insurance, has passed. So, now our farmers are faced with a deduction on all that they’re eligible for.”
The U.S. Senate and House recently passed a disaster bill, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump. The disaster aid package includes $3 billion for agriculture programs and includes provisions specifically related to livestock and crop losses.
Farmers continue to wait for clarification from U.S. Department of Agriculture on the application process and eligibility requirements.
“Our farmers face some really confusing options,” Young said. “I’m glad that the U.S. Senate, working with the House and the president, have been able to get a disaster bill passed and signed into law.
“But now it comes time for implementation. I’m really hopeful that USDA will be issuing guidance soon so that our farmers know how to apply for the crop and livestock loss monies that are available to them from last year and for this year.”