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Salvaging a season: Corn, beans planted

June 13, 2011

A John Deere tractor pulls a corn planter.

With a dry week coupled with modern technology, preliminary estimates show that Auglaize County farmers have for the most part salvaged what was expected to be a record-setting year for growing corn.
Large amounts of rain throughout the months of April and May had kept farmers out of the field in May. However, a let up of the rainfall to start of the month of June allowed farmers to get in the fields.
Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association Communications Director Natalie Lehner said modern technology and resolve help Ohio farmers to be efficient when given a window.
“We had a big rain today (Friday) so the short window given has been closed,” Lehner said in a telephone interview last week. “There were some farmers who didn’t get in as much as they intended because they couldn’t get it in in that time period. But with modern advances, they can get the crop in in a week.
“With GPS you can do soil mapping and see how wet the ground is,” she said. “Farmers have higher yields now and use less land to achieve those yields. We can still have a successful harvest if the weather cooperates at the end of the year.”
In early April, a study re-
leased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service indicated that Ohio farmers had planned to increase corn planting due to demand.
Ohio corn producers expected to plant about 3.7 million acres, which represented 4 percent of the expected corn crop nationally and would have been a 7 percent increase in the state from a year ago.
The expected upswing in corn harvesting was predicted due to corn being a key component to many food products, mainly animal feed. In March meat prices were at record highs and pork had rose 33 percent from the same period a year before. Corn exports, ethanol production, and domestic feeding were all up, causing the increased need.
The bad start to planting this year may have already had a negative impact to area farmers. Ohio State University Extension Agricultural Director John Smith said in late May that after May 10, farmers began losing approximately a bushel of corn per acre for each day crops didn’t get planted. The USDA reported that through May 22 only 11 percent of corn had been planted statewide. Estimates showed approximately 200 million bushels may have already been lost at a market value of about $1.4 billon.
Monte Berg, a New Knoxville farmer and member of the Ohio Corn Marketing Board, said while exact numbers would not be available until certification dates that farmers got approximately 80 percent of their crop planted in our area.
“It all depends on the location,” Berg said. “It seemed like the farmers down south got it worse.”
Local farmers’ are expected to certify their crop to the USDA by July 15.
Berg said reports showed that approximately 58 percent of the corn crop was in across the state as of last Monday, and he expected that number to be higher when the report is released later today.
“It essentially is what it is,” Berg said. “Many of the farmers took on some corn and others will plant soybeans. It certainly could have been worse.”
The effects on corn prices will depend on yields and corn growing in other farming states.
“In Ohio and Indiana it was down, but other states like Iowa and Nebraska have had open weather and they probably exceeded what they expected to grow,” Berg said. “They had some open weather and will make up some of that loss.”
Lehner noted that the heavy rains could have an impact on wheat harvests as well statewide. Winter wheat harvest extends from about mid-May to mid-July and spring wheat is harvested mid-August to mid-September.
“The wheat has been saturated,” Lehner said. “When it doesn’t have the sun to dry up the ground and the plant it can become susceptible to disease.”

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