WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Frequent rain is delaying some
Indiana farmers who need to harvest winter wheat and then plant a crop of
soybeans right after that while there still is time in the summer growing
While nearly all of Indiana’s soybean crop already is in the
ground, some farmers who “double crop” have not yet planted their beans.
They are facing crucial dates this month for planting them,
generally sooner in the central parts of the state and later in the south.
Double-cropping is not recommended in the north because of its shorter
“This year’s wheat harvest is a polar opposite compared with
2012, when nearly every acre was already harvested by now,” said Purdue
Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel. “Delayed wheat harvest directly
affects our double-crop soybeans.”
Only 32 percent of the winter wheat acreage in Indiana had
been harvested as of the week ending July 7, compared with 98 percent last year
and the five-year average of 69 percent, according to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Still, 76 percent of the
crop was rated good to excellent.
Wheat development was delayed this season when cooler
temperatures extended into the spring, Casteel said. The cool and wet spring,
however, benefited many wheat fields with extended period of grain fill.
“Unfortunately, the rain cycle continued for many of our
areas as the wheat matured in June and now into July,” the specialist
Farmers who double crop would need to plant their soybeans
so the plants can reach maturity before the first freeze in autumn. Because
double-crop soybeans need about 90 days to reach the first harvestable stage of
development, Casteel recommended that farmers target July 15-25 as estimated
planting deadlines depending on their location in the state.
Farmers in southern Indiana usually have more time because
that part of the state typically does not have a first freeze until late
October. But a first freeze by mid-October is possible anywhere in Indiana
depending on weather conditions at the time, Casteel noted.
In addition, the timeline of 90 days to maturity is more
accurate from the time plants emerge rather than the planting date, the
specialist said. Although double-crop soybeans should emerge in five to seven
days, they could take several weeks should soil be dry after planting.
Casteel said farmers would need to assess their field
conditions and adjust their planting schedule accordingly.