Persistent rainfall this spring has put Indiana farmers well behind schedule in planting their crops.
U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show just 6% of this year's expected corn crop was planted as of May 12, far below the five-year average of 57%, the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute reported. Indiana's prime planting period to maximize corn production in most of the state was from April 20 to May 10.
"We have not planted the first seed. Honestly there is not much planted between here and Evansville," said Brad Burbrink, an owner in BE N AG Family Farm in southeast Vigo County who farms 6,000 acres. "We are optimistic that the 6-to-10 day forecast is for some drier weather coming in, and if we can miss some showers or get less measurable rainfall, then maybe we can get into the fields and get planting."
The planting season began slowly last year before roughly 60% of the state's corn crops were planted in early May during a two-week period.
Terry Hayhurst, who is entering his 35th year of farming at Hayhurst Farms, said the wet spring "has been frustrating as we all want to get out there and gets this (planting) done in a timely manner." He cultivates 1,400 acres in southern Vigo County.
Hayhurst has experienced delays in planting before, but the longer it takes to put seed in the ground increases the possibility for higher drying costs at the end of the season at harvest. Hayhurst's farm contains clay soil that retains moisture, which could put off his planting even more.
"We are losing our growing degree days, on corn especially," he said. "The later we end up planting, if we leave the same day length hybrid (seed) that we are planting, usually what it does is make the grain wetter in the fall and we have to spend more money to dry," he said.
Federal data indicates that just 2% of soybeans have been planted in Indiana this year over the same period, which is substantially less than the 26% five-year average. But Indiana farmers can plant soybeans until early June.