Iowa Public Television


Rain Continues to Delay Planting Across Corn Belt

posted on May 15, 2009

Even as Floridians battle over ever-increasing demand for limited supplies of water, farmers in parts of the Midwest are lamenting too much rain.

Spring planting is way behind schedule in the eastern Corn Belt and, as this week's crop progress report revealed, farmers in some regions may be forced to plant those acres in soybeans instead.

Rain Continues to Delay Planting Across Corn Belt

Wet conditions continue to disrupt crop planting in the central and eastern Corn Belt. Farmers from eastern Missouri across Illinois and Indiana and into Ohio are waiting for a rain-free window long enough to plant. Many farmers are reporting they haven't even started planting yet due to the cool, wet conditions.

The wet spring has slowed field work across a region that accounts for somewhere between a quarter and a third of the nation's corn crop. In Illinois, 10 percent of the expected crop has been planted. Typically more than 80 percent would be in the ground by now. Indiana has 11 percent of its crop planted rather than the usual 70 percent and Ohio farmers have planted less than a quarter of their corn rather than the usual two-thirds by early May.

In the major corn producing states, Iowa is reporting the best results, with 81 percent of the corn crop already in the ground.

By May 10, producers nationally had planted 14 percent of their soybean acreage, up three points from last year but 11 points slower than the average pace. As farmers continue to battle soggy fields and wet weather, soybean planting in Illinois and North Dakota has yet to begin.

Wet conditions also are increasing concerns about disease in winter wheat on the southeastern Plains. Cool, damp conditions are hampering fieldwork and the emergence of spring-sown small grains on the northern High Plains.

Nationally, 35 percent of the spring wheat crop has been planted, less than half of the tally this time last year. The most progress was made in South Dakota, where 85 percent of its acreage was planted.

Planting delays can cut production because crops aren't mature enough to benefit from the early July heat they need to grow.


Tags: agriculture corn crops news rain weather