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Wet Fields Delay Planting

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Water on an Indiana farm field following frequent rains in April. (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell)
In a year's time, Hoosier farmers have gone from one weather extreme to another.... last year, a drought... this year, too wet. As farmers look to have at the latest, corn in the ground by about the middle of June, Purdue Extension Agronomist Bob Nielsen says that is actuallly plenty of time to get a lot accomplished in time for the growing season. "On a good week, we can plant somewhere around thirty-percent of the state's crop in a single week, " Nielsen said. "Over four weeks time we certainly hope that we can get everything in the ground during that time."
But right now, Hoosiers farmers are way behind what would be a more typical planting schedule.   Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist, says only one-percent of Indiana's corn crop was planted by the week ending April 28, compared to 67-percent last year... and the latest report out this week stills shows only eight-percent planted, compared to last year, when over eighty-percent of the crop had been planted.
"Over the past few years, in the even-numbered years we've had early planting, and in the odd-numbered years we've had late planting," he noted. This year, it's been so slow that it is among the five slowest years for spring planting in the past 20, Nielsen said.  Purdue officials say Indiana had the seventh-wettest April on record, with a statewide average of 6.4 inches of precipitation - nearly 3 inches above normal.
You can hear our interview with Bob Nielsen here at our website at News Audio on Demand.
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