It has been a very frustrating planting season for Adam Kirian and his brother on their Hancock County farm.
The cool, moist conditions from March through mid-May were great for the wheat, but not for much of anything else on the corn, soybean, hay, fresh produce, and cattle operation.
“I made a joke a couple of days ago and said that I wished we had planted everything to wheat because it looks excellent. We had a cool damp spring and it was favorable for the wheat. There is a lot of fungicide going on right now as we get closer to filling grain. I would say we are 40 or 45 days at least away from wheat harvest. It is starting to warm up right now,” said Adam Kirian on May 26. “We didn’t get any corn in the ground until May 20. We started working ground the day before on the well-drained stuff. As we have gotten some heat, things have really gotten nice. We finished up our own corn planting last night and we are doing some custom work now. Hopefully we should have some beans going in the ground this afternoon. By the middle of next week, with the looks of the forecast, we should have everything in the ground. There were times in April where the ground was dry and we planted some sweet corn. We had issues getting it to emerge, though, because of the cool temperatures. We had problems with too much moisture but the ground temperature was as big of a problem this spring.”
While the cool and wet conditions kept planters out of the field, the wheat continued to thrive after a mild winter and good growing conditions the previous fall.
“The wheat really looks good. As far as ground moisture, we have a fair amount to help fill the heads out with grain. The big thing is that we have gotten so warm and so humid so quickly after being so cool all spring that disease is going to be a bigger issue. You are seeing a lot of preventative maintenance spraying around here after all of the issues we have had the last couple of years,” Kirian said. “If you are cool and dry you don’t have a lot of issues. This year we are planning on spraying everything. Last year we decided to spray and we avoided a lot of the issues in terms of quality.”
While the dry weather was a welcome and necessary change to get crops planted on the farm, the switch in weather patterns was a concern.
“We have missed a couple of rains now and I start to get nervous when we start to get in that trend,” he said. “We have stuff to do, but things could get too dry too soon. Missing rains is good right now so we can finish up and get some hay made but after that I would welcome some rain.”
Another major challenge for the early growing season for corn, soybeans and wheat was the very late frost in mid May. On May 16, air temperatures dropped into the upper 20s and low 30s causing some freeze injury to crops around Ohio, particularly in low parts of the fields. Though there was not widespread injury, there were some corn and soybean fields replanted due to frost injury in some areas and some wheat showed signs of damage as well.
The May 31 USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service crop progress report showed that Ohio’s farmers were taking advantage of the warmer, drier conditions planting significant amounts of corn and soybeans. There were 6 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 29, allowing corn and soybean planting to catch up to the five-year average, though emergence was still behind due to the previous planting delays.
Some growers replanted corn that had been stunted by the cold temperatures after early planting. Some soybeans will also need to be replanted, due to frost damage and pythium incidence. There were reports of wheat rust that may lead to diverting fields to forage.
In addition, producers were cutting and baling hay as the moisture surplus was no longer an issue. Some areas are even beginning to become too dry, particularly in the northern part of the state. Vegetable producers were also planting their crops. Other activities included sidedressing, hauling manure, and spraying, though high wind hampered spraying in some areas.
Stay tuned to see how progress continued over the last week with a new Crop Progress report being released later today.