Rainfall raising concerns for farmers

With a soggy start to Spring this year many farmers have pushed back their planting schedules.

Posted: May 2, 2019 6:48 PM
Updated: May 2, 2019 6:59 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind (WLFI)—Farmers are itching to get back to crop season. Although, muddy fields and puddles are the reality.

“Generally late April through the early part of May is the prime time for planting,” said Farmer Kevin Underwood. “And so this delay is costing us.”

Only 2% of the state’s crops have been planted. The average for this time of year is 20%.

“The most difficult part is how to plan when you always try to plan for the best case scenario,” said Underwood. “And then trying to figure out, what are we going to do if it continues to rain.”

Kevin Underwood is a corn, soybean, and popcorn farmer. His fields are currently muddy and full of puddles. He’s concerned about the financial effect this could have in the long run.

“Will the amount of crop that we actually take in,” said Underwood. “In the fall with the current price situation be enough to then cover all of those expenses.”

Those expenses are seed, fertilizer, fuel, and machinery. If production starts too late, that means less is produced and farmers are uncertain they will bounce back.

“We’re just getting to that point where how much longer can we stretch this thing out and continue to make it work,” said Underwood. “When financially we’ve been burning through our cash reserves.”

Extension Corn Specialist Bob Nielson says even though the weather pattern is causing uncertainty, farmers can still come out on top.

“If it turns out to be a wonderful growing season with moderate weather ample rain when we need it, good temperatures, we can still produce average or above average crops,” said Nielson.

Nielson said the only thing farmers can do right now is being prepared. Mother Nature could let up for just a bit, and they’ll need to be ready.

“Just be ready to go once the field opens up,” said Nielson.

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A windy and chilly day is expected. Tonight could be the coldest night of the season so far.
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