LIMA — Approximately 71 percent of corn and 50 percent of soybeans have been planted in Ohio so far, according to a May 21 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service.
OSU Extension Hardin County Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator Mark Badertscher acknowledged that this year, farmers have experienced a late start to the planting season. The late start was a result of the cold and wet weather over the past several months.
He said farms in northern Ohio close to the Lake Erie and the northern edge of Wood County have received extreme amounts of rain, which contributed to their planting season delay.
The first week of May was when the weather started to finally cooperate. Badertscher said the majority of southern Ohio finished its planting, but farmers in the Northern part are in the process of finishing up.
In places like Hardin County, he observed most of the corn is planted, but several bean seeds still need to be planted.
“We have had a lot of rain fall, but that’s not all bad,” Badertscher said. “The rain can help activate herbicides and weed killers in the fields. It just all depends on where the rain falls and when it falls.”
Despite the challenges that some farmers have had in the northern Ohio, Spencerville farmer Tim Schwinnen said that this has been one of the best planting seasons he ever had.
To get prepared for the planting season, he began spraying the ground for weeds last year. In December, he began pricing the crops and planning the placement of the seeds.
On April 29, he began planting his corn and soybean seeds and was finished by May 7.
“Last year we didn’t even get done until mid-June, and this year I was done in about nine days,” Schwinnen said.
Within 10 to 12 days, he has already seen his corn emerge. In the past, he has seen it take about 25 days.
“It just all depends on the temperature,” he said. “It’s been a fun year. If we could have it like this every year, farming would be a lot more fun.”
Another farmer with farming properties throughout Allen County, Allen County Commissioner Jay Begg, said although it looked as if it would be a delayed planting season, it has not had a significant impact on his properties.
He fully finished planting his corn about two weeks ago and was done with beans about a week ago.
“We have had cold weather, but once it warmed up a bit we haven’t had any significant rain fall that has really kept us out of the field very much,” Begg said. “Majority of people, if they are not done, they are close to being done. We are still in May, so that is pretty average.”
He recently observed that on the western side of the county that not only were nearly every field planted with crops, but that there was also an emergence of the crops.
“Typically you want to have your corn in the ground now,” he said. “The adage my father would say is ‘you lose a bushel a day through the seventh of May.’ So somewhere around the 10th and 15th of May, you should have your corn planted.”
Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia, who has properties throughout Allen, Hardin and Hancock counties, has also had an excellent planting season. He began planting his soybeans and corn on April 30, and as of May 24, 90 percent of his corn emerged.
Besides soybeans and corn, he also plants wheat, which he makes sure to spray with fungicide to prevent the wheat head scab disease.
“This is probably one of the top two or three years I’ve had within the last 20 years planting,” Treglia said. “However, I will say that we have a lot of growing season and adverse weather to come. Just because we had a good start does not always mean a good ending.”
Because there are farmers who had a late start, Treglia encouraged people to be more understanding with the farmers who may be on the roads and interrupting the traffic flow.
“Be patient when farmers are out on the roadways,” he said. “Keep in mind that they do not want to be on the roadways either. They would rather be in the field.”
Treglia said there are approximately 19 million unplanted acres in the country of corn. He also observed that farmers near Arlington had a delayed start with their planting seasons.
“That’s going to be a big issue if that corn does not get planted very soon,” he said. “They are going to switch that to beans, and three will be more bean and less corn.”
Jan Layman, of Kenton, was one of farmers who has experienced a delayed start in the planting season. The rain has put him at a standstill for five days.
On his 4,800-acre farm, Layman grows corn and soybeans. He has finished all of his corn but has about eight to nine more acres to finish planting his soybeans. He hoped to resume his planting Saturday.
“It was a very delayed start, and typically in the spring we do some pre-spaying for soybean and finish up, but we didn’t have any pre-time,” Layman said. “We started everything in the last week of April, which really slowed down our bean planting.”
Although he has had a delayed start, he is optimistic about the future and is confident that he will finish in enough time.
“Occassionally there is a year where you don’t get everything planted, but we haven’t had that before,” Layman said. “We always get our crops planted.”
Van Wert farmer Jon Hessel, similar to the farmers in Allen County, said that has had a great season because he has already finished planting all of his soybeans.
“My year went really good because we were able to plant them within five days,” said Hessel. “I know that the later you get the crop in, the less yield possibility there is. That’s why we strive for the last week of April. The first week of May is prime time.”
His planting process this year consisted of spraying down his plants with weed killers prior to planting season. He then planted his crops, and after a couple of weeks he sprayed herbicide.
A week later, he applied foliar fertilizer, which is absorbed in the leaves. A month later, he applied herbicide for weeds, then applied more fertilizer and then pesticide for the bugs.
“I’m ahead of the curve,” he said. “Unfortunately I know that there are still farmers who have not been able to plant theirs yet.”
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews