ANDERSON — In less than a week, local farmers went from being optimistic to pessimistic about the 2017 crop yield as a persistent rain continues to pelt Madison County.
With rain expected to fall through today, many areas of Madison County could end up with 7 inches of precipitation in the past week.
A week ago, local farmers said they were on schedule and had started planting the 2017 corn crop.
Beth Vansickle, agriculture and natural resources extension educator for the Purdue Extension office in Madison County, said Thursday there is a high level of concern among farmers.
“Everyone is in a waiting game right now,” she said. “They are considering what their options are once the rain stops. Many will be considering changing their game plans.”
Vansickle said farmers will be at looking at replanting some fields and will be assessing the damage from standing water.
She said when farmers can return to work in the fields will depend on the weather over the next few weeks and how quickly the fields drain.
“It has proceeded to get ugly and is going to get uglier,” local farmer Brian Bays said. “There are the colder temperatures in addition to the rainfall amounts.”
Bays planted approximately 1,200 acres of corn last week.
“It’s difficult to tell,” he said of the impact of the rain on the fields already planted. “Some of the plants were starting to emerge. We’re looking at replanting everything that had been started.”
Once the rain stops, Bays estimated it would be two weeks before they can get back into the fields.
“It’s been a perfect storm,” he said, “Cold temperatures and wet soil. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”
Bays said this is the worst planting season farmers have experienced since 1981, when the corn crop wasn’t planted until June 10.
Purdue University experts predict that corn planted after May 10 will result in a 10-bushel loss per acre; after May 20, there will be a 20-bushel loss per acre, he said.
“Some farmers will move away from planting corn to planting beans,” Bays said. “We need to get the corn planted in May.
“The chances for a good yield have disappeared quickly,” he said.
John Richwine said he expects to do more replanting of corn already in the fields than the planting that remained to be completed.
“The first week of rain went away pretty quick,” he said. “There wasn’t much damage. This rain will cause damage with the water pooling up on the fields.”
Richwine said farmers are dealing with the issue of cooler temperatures and wet fields.
“You just don’t know,” he said of the potential impact on crop yields. “Some of the plants already planted may not be a total loss.