Rain keeps farmers from fields; corn specialist provides optimism

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Farmers are itching to get back to crop season.

Muddy fields and puddles are the reality.

“Generally late April through the early part of May is the prime time for planting,” farmer Kevin Underwood said, “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,” Underwood said, “and then trying to figure out what are we going to do if it continues to rain.”

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

“Will the amount of crop that we actually take in 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,” Underwood said, “when financially we’ve been burning through our cash reserves.”

Extension corn specialist Bob Nielson said 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,” Nielson said. 

Nielson said the only thing farmers can do now is be 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,” Nielson said.