The U.S. Department of Agriculture said only 56 percent of Indiana’s corn crop has been planted, with rain and chilly weather to blame for the planting delay.
Heavy rains across the state flooded some farmers’ fields, and cold weather has also prevented the development of early seedlings and plants, the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported.
Some farmers are expecting less seedling growth because many of the seeds they planted have been killed by the harsh weather, said James Wolff, agriculture and natural resources educator with Purdue’s Allen County extension.
“We’re expecting emergence (of seedlings) to be less than might be expected because seeds have been killed or plants, when they start growing, have been killed because they couldn’t get enough oxygen,” Wolff said.
Purdue Extension corn specialist Bob Neilsen said many farmers will have to replant a larger than normal percentage of their crop this year. Buying additional seeds can be costly, and replanting in cold, wet weather has greater risks of seedling disease.
Roger Hadley, a local farm bureau official who farms in the Woodburn area, said only about 40 percent of his corn is planted. Hadley said the warm weather that’s followed the rain has turned the soil hard on the surface with mud underneath, which makes it difficult for seeds to sprout.
“I’ve rotary-hoed all of what’s been planted in the last day and a half. We’re trying to break up the crust to see if we can make (the seed) live and get above ground and salvage it,” Hadley explained. “It’ll take until the weekend or Monday until we know.”
Despite the weather challenges, Wolff said he doesn’t expect large crop losses.
“If we’re able to dry out here and get things planted relatively quickly, we’re still not losing too much,” he said.