Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day.
So goes the popular nursery rhyme and seemed very appropriate Monday night in Crawford County, when the rain re-started after a day that produced at least a little sunshine.
The rain coupled with the storms that preceded it last week had some profound implications for area farmers poised to finish corn planting before June 1.
There’s a lot of corn still unplanted, according to those in the know about such things. On Friday, May 12, Crawford County Ag Agent took “a wild guess” and said he believed only about 35 percent of the county’s corn had been planted.
Meanwhile, USDA Crawford County Executive Director John Baird took “a shot in the dark” that about 65 to 70 percent of the corn was planted. He noted that was an estimate backed up by three or four farmers on the USDA County Committee he met with last week.
Baird’s estimate was in line with Ben Olson from Olson Feeds in Seneca, who was also guessing the corn planting in the county stood at about 50 to 60 percent as of Monday, May 22.
All three ‘guesstimators’ were saying very few soybeans had been planted at this time. Baird thought the amount of soybean planting might be less than one percent.
One feed store clerk noted that most customers had not been in yet to pick up their ordered soybeans indicating they were not that close to being done with the corn planting.
At this moment, there still remains a slid week of time to plant corn. That’s plenty of time, the experts agreed. However, the rain must stop and there must be some drying for the planting to resume.
Even though were past the best day for planting with a little dryness farmer’s using modern planters can get a lot done in hurry,” Vance Haugen said. The ag agent believes there cold be some yield loss due to the conditions. However, although there may not be record yields, Haugen thinks the harvest probably will not be a bust.
If the wet weather persists, farmers may look at some other options. One might be to plant shorter day corn, which would accommodate later planting.
Olson Feeds has 95-day corn on hand, Ben Olson confirmed. Most farmers are plant 105-day corn.
Another option for some growers might be to convert some acres to soybeans, which can be planted a week or more into June.
Haugen said that might be a small shift of acres of five to 10 percent.
“The majority of people have made up their minds,” Haugen said. “They’ve got their rotations planned and the tend to stick with the plan.”
Another option for livestock farmers is to plant corn late and then take it for silage when it’s green.
The best option might be to have the weather stay sunny with little breeze, according to Olson.
Drier ground, modern equipment and willingness to work around the clock when the moment arrives, might be part of the solution this year, according to Baird.
Of corn already planted earlier in May much of it has emerged. Now, it’s just a matter of the rest.
Then, there are the lower fields along the Kickapoo River and other streams. Many still have corn not harvested last fall because of flooding. It is unlikely these wet bottom fields will be planted anytime soon, according to Baird and others.