LIMA — A stretch of dry weather allowed northwest Ohio farmers to catch up on replanting, applying fertilizer and cutting hay in June, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Data from the USDA revealed there were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending June 11. Planting of corn and soybeans is nearly complete, but some growers postponed planting due to a lack of soil moisture.
During the week of June 11 temperatures in the Lima region were one degree above normal, with three days of precipitation. Temperatures in the Van Wert area were at normal temperature, with two days of precipitation. Temperatures in Pandora were one degree above normal, with two days of precipitation.
Kif Hurlbut, deputy regional director with the USDA’s Great Lakes Region, said soil moisture levels and field saturation made it difficult for farmers to plant in the beginning of the season, but a recent dry spell has allowed growers to catch up.
“Now we’re starting to transition into needing rain,” Hurlbut said.
Rain did fall a couple days in early June in northwest Ohio, but temperatures remained high for the majority of that time. Hurlbut said the combination of rain and high temperatures may be beneficial for farmers who planted corn and soybeans.
“I imagine that’s really going to help (crop) development, ” Hurlbut said. “Certainly it needed both the temperature increases and the rain.”
Wheat plants are a different story, however. Hurlbut said since wheat is coming close to harvest, rain and humidity will not help the plants develop and emerge.
“Once the crop has matured, it isn’t going to really benefit from additional moisture,” he said. “Conditions that favor wheat harvest might not be the best conditions for corn and soybeans.”
In terms of replanting, Hurlbut said it’s up to the individual farmer to decide if doing so would allow for the most economic benefits. Some farmers may decide to replant because wet conditions that occurred earlier in the season have “drowned out” the crops, he said, noting that more rain and cooler temperatures occurred when most farmers planted in April and May.
“The reasons farmers may replant is probably a mix of excessive rainfall that drowned out the crops and low temperatures that dragged out (crop) emergence,” he said. “If temperatures are too low, crops emerge later. Warmer temperatures benefit emergence.”
Though high temperatures in recent weeks are likely benefiting crop emergence, Hurlbut said field conditions vary in each individual farm — even ones that are fairly close to each other. Soil types may differ from each farm, Hurlbut said, and farmers may decide to fertilize or perform other types of field work at different times.
“For corn, you want to fertilize at the optimal time, so maybe you got the crop in the ground but delayed from fertilizing or doing weed control,” he said. “Tasks that follow planting may have been postponed.”
The big issue for farmers going forward is the pollination period, Hurlbut said. Corn especially has a narrow pollination period, and weather conditions will play a factor in how well crops are doing during this time.
“Light, steady rainfall and moderate temperatures are probably the best (conditions),” he said. “Certainly you don’t want extreme heat, rain or winds during the pollination period.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.