Roger Hadley inspects soybean seeds inside his planter. Hadley was unable to get soybeans in the field due to a week of rainy weather. He hopes to plant as soon as possible.
Roger Hadley inspects soybean seeds inside his planter. Hadley was unable to get soybeans in the field due to a week of rainy weather. He hopes to plant as soon as possible.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — After a long winter and mild spring, progress is starting to be made in fields across Indiana.

Andrew Ferrel, agronomist at Mycogen from west-central Indiana, has seen headway made in corn planting.

“In my area, planting really took off the first and second week of May, during that window of warm and dry weather,” he said. “This was pretty much the story across the state. It hit, and everybody moved fast.

“With the increased size in modern farm equipment, a lot of corn got in the ground in a short period of time. We went from 5 to 6 percent of corn planted in the state to around 60 percent planted.”

Due to a recent rainy period, little progress has been made since the May 12 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Ferrel said.

The high rainfalls combined with cool temperatures raises concern for seed germination and emergence, as well as early season seedling blights in corn and soybeans.

It is hard to predict what effect the weather will have, Ferrel said, so it’s something for farmers to keep an eye on.

“Another concern moving forward is black cutworm,” he said. “Moth counts in the past few weeks have been particularly high, according to Purdue’s black cutworm pheromone trap report.”

This does not necessarily mean crop damage will be high. The larvae must survive environmental conditions and successfully hatch before they will cause problems.

Looking ahead, farmers may need to be concerned with nitrogen loss in corn.

“If we continue to receive plentiful rainfall this spring and temperatures warm back up, those are conditions that are conductive to nitrogen loss,” Ferrel explained. “Growers with fall-applied nitrogen will be at higher risk of late-season nitrogen deficiency.

“We are a long way from actually seeing nitrogen deficiency, but it’s on my mind with recent and forecasted weather conditions.”

Roger Hadley, a corn and soybean farmer near Fort Wayne, has finished planting corn, but hasn’t been able to start soybean planting.

“It’s kind of slow,” he said. “We were rained out and won’t be able to get in until the soil dries out a little bit. My neighbors are in the same boat.

“I think what’s in the ground will be OK, and it’s emerging well so far — close to ideal. I’d guess that 85 to 90 percent of corn has been planted in the area. Around 50 percent of soybeans are probably in the ground.”

While he’s waiting for the weather to cooperate, Hadley is staying busy fixing equipment and making sure everything is ready to go for soybean planting.

From a month before planting through harvest, there always is something to do, he said.

As is true every year, the completion of this year’s planting will come down to weather conditions.

“If we plant soybeans too soon, they may mature in the pod-filling stage at the wrong time,” Hadley said. “If it’s hot and dry at the time, it could be a yield loss. It all depends on the weather.”