DARKE COUNTY – Rain, rain, go away.
Local farmers are hoping, wishing and praying forecasters will sing some version of that tune as the week goes by.
“In Darke County, sentiments are that the guys are starting to get nervous about getting in the fields,” said Sam Cueter, OSU
Extension Educator for Agriculture and Natural Resource for Dake County.
A wet fall, combined with the wet spring hasn’t been friendly to the county’s agricultural community, Custer said.
“There’s a lot of work to be done on a lot of these farms even before they can plant. The ideal planting time is right now. Realistically, after those rains last Thursday night, even with sun, wind and warm temperatures, we’re a week away from getting into the fields.”
More rain is in the forecast for this this week.
Custer said hopefully by Mother’s Day – May 12 – fields will be dry enough to plant.
“After May 15, we start to see a big reduction in yields. Corn is more affected,” Custer explained. “We’re getting close to that deadline.”
Monty Stump, who farms 1,350 acres west of Greenville in the Nashville and Palestine areas, as well as northwest near Woodington, said he’s planted 200 acres of corn and 60 acres of soybeans so far this spring.
“We planted wheat last fall and its already out,” Stump said. “Normally, we would have everything planted by now. The later it gets to plant corn, you start losing yield potential.”
Stump, a pilot, he said “for fun,” took his plane up this past weekend.
“We flew up over Grand Lake St. Mary’s and saw a ditch all out of its banks for about 10 miles or so. We saw several side roads under water up there.”
Stump, who’s been farming with his family since he graduated from college in 1977, said it has been a while since he’s seen such a wet planting season.
“We’ve experienced other years but not to this extent. Not that I can remember,” Stump said. “I hope things come around.”
According to Custer, it’s been quite a very long time since weather has impacted the planting season in Darke County.
“I’ve been looking back and it’s been more than 10 years since we’ve had this situation.”
Custer said he also recalls the spring of 1981,
“We were still planting crops in June. I remember driving the tractor and listening to the Poultry Days festival being broadcast on a local radio station,” he said.
Although farmers do carry crop insurance and can submit claims if necessary, Custer said, it’s not going to cover large losses.
“It’s a safety net that’s there for them. It’s not going to pay the bills – mortgages or cash rent to rent farm land. But we’re a ways away from that,” Custer said.
Darke County, Custer said, grows 300,000 acres of corn and soybeans. “We produce more corn and soybeans than any other county in the state,” he said.