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Throughout the whole corn belt, there has been one thing in common this planting season – rain. Here in Northeast Indiana, it has caused some major headaches and issues. Currently, as of May 21st, our farm has not turned one wheel in the whole operation. There are many others in this same boat in the tri-state area, the stress and urgency are beginning to set in. 

With that being said, one piece of advice I’ve been telling my growers is to not get in a hurry today to cause a bigger issue tomorrow. The pictures of planters, cultivators andsprayers getting stuck are becoming more prevalent as the days in the calendar roll by. When I see these I just cringe inside. Most of these wet spots were rutted up last fall by the combine, and now by the planter. The toll that can cause on the soil is detrimental.

I know the pressures of getting a crop planted is larger this year than any prior with lower grain prices and the  same or higher cost of production. However, that doesn’t mean we should rush to plant a crop in poor to marginal conditions, hurting soil structure, or damaging equipment along the way. This spring has given us a chance to step back and look at the opportunities provided to us. 

Some of the opportunities may be in forms of new on-farm practices. An example is fall burndown programs to leave the possibility of a no-till situation in the spring, which also lessens the amount of tillage work and speeds up the planting process. This also lessens the weed pressure, causing fewer headaches as well. The rain also gives farmers the chance to look into prevent plant options. This can allow a grower to learn about cover crops in depth. It can help a grower get drainage systems installed on those wet farms to help alleviate those fall and spring wet spots.

Whatever your situation is, keep in mind that everyone is in this together; as of this week corn planted is 31% behind the five-year average, and 28% behind on soybeans. When the fields are fit to go, remember to stay positive to your family, your agronomists, and your input providers, as it’s just as busy for them as it is for you. Use this spring as a lesson on ways to improve or change planting options and mindsets moving forward. And just keep saying to yourself, maybe tomorrow will be the day we can get started!

Alex Fiock
Alex Fiock
Alex Fiock is a Field Manager for Soil Health Partnership covering northern Indiana and Ohio. He also oversees farm economics work for SHP.