2011-05-07 / Front Page

Nothing to Do but Wait

Wet conditions delay planting
By Scott Rawdon

LAKE AREA – Local farmers may believe we’re experiencing 1958 all over again, when conditions were too wet to plant crops on time. “I don’t recall a season when there was no corn planted at this point,” said local farmer Ed Parrish, who’s farmed since 1974. He said if farmers had the opportunity to plant earlier this season, the subsequent rain would’ve nearly destroyed their crops, anyway. “There’s no net loss at this point having not planted,” said Parrish.

Farmers are in a tough spot, said Parrish, because they need anywhere from three or four days to two weeks, in some cases, of dry weather before corn planting can begin. After May 10, crop yields steadily decline and June 5 is the deadline for planting corn. “Hopefully, we get a break at some point,” he said.

“It would take four days of drying,” said local farmer and Union Township Trustee John Slater. “We’re already behind the eight ball.” He said he usually has some planting done by this time of the season, but so far, none. “It never gets dry enough for long enough,” said Slater.

“We may see this weather continue into July,” said Joe Young, member at the Rushville based Young Crop Insurance Agency LLC. He’s having a lot of discussion with area farmers about their options, should the rain force them to plant late or not at all. “June 6 is the first day they can say they’re not planting,” said Young. He said farmers can choose not to plant, plant corn late and have a reduction in coverage, or plant soybeans, which have until June 20 to be planted. Young said most farmers are insured for $350 to $550 per acre, but it’s not cheap. “Premiums are up 40 percent because the price of corn in high,” he said. If corn isn’t planted soon, that price will rise even higher. Young said corn supplies are at a 30 year low.

Parrish said insurance doesn’t cover all the losses. “We can recover a portion of the costs,” he said. “Hopefully it allows you to survive to try again another year.”

Young said the local farmers he works with are generally optimistic they will be able to plant reasonably soon. “They can put in a lot of crops in a day,” he said. Young, who farms, said his grandfather had a favorite saying. “God gives you a time to plant,” he said. “You just don’t know when it is.”

Photos by Scott Rawdon Photos by Scott Rawdon

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