Wet conditions delay crop plantings, harvesting

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rain creating domino effect on crops across Missouri

Persistent rains have been delaying corn and soybean planting across most of the state, as well as affecting wheat harvesting.

"The corn situation is probably a lot worse to our north," said Time Schnakenberg, regional agronomy specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. "We had an awful time getting it planted. We were blessed to have a few windows in April to get it planted in time. Corn-wise, we're in pretty good shape now. I'd say we're worse off with soybeans."

According to Schnakenberg, soybeans are planted by late May or early June, but that is not happening because of the persistent wet weather conditions.

"There have been very few plants planted," he said.

The problem is causing a domino effect on other crops and the natural progression of how crops are planted and harvested each year.

Schnakenberg said wheat that was planted last fall is ready to be harvested, but conditions are delaying the harvesting, which directly impacts soybean planting, because farmers need to plant soybeans into wheat acreage as a double crop.

"It is normally a double crop in this area," Schnakenberg said. "We're facing busy times for crop producers who want to get wheat harvested, then soybeans. So, the later there's a delay getting wheat harvested, the longer it will take to get the soybeans planted. It's become a real

issue, that and the hay issue.

"It's been a problem. There have been some beans planted, but we've got wheat to harvest in another week to 10 days, and things are starting to stack up, so our farmers are struggling a little bit. But, farmers understand enough about the environment to appreciate the blessing of rain. Even when it is preventing them from getting their jobs done. We are in June, just ahead of going into our typical dry time in July and August, which means we might have more moisture to help our crops. It's a mixed blessing.

Schnakenberg said a lot have been able to get hay up, even with the challenges brought by rain.

"There was hardly a time the entire month of May to get it harvested," he said. "That's normally the time we are getting it down. With the humidity, we've had it may not be as dry as it should be. So, I think overall, our hay quality this year is going to be really compromised, which leads to concerns about nutrition for cattle."

Schnakenberg said this late in the season, time is of the essence.

"There's a rule of thumb with planting, and every day we delay planting, we lose yield," he said.

Another concern is that the persistent rain is affecting the test weight of wheat, which affects producers' bottom lines.

"Some of it has a lot of fusariam scab, a head disease," he said. "We've been seeing quite a lot of that in the head. The quality of grain is dropping. When we have head scab that continues to persist with the humidity and moisture, that affects test weight as the grain dries down and continues to get moisture. About 60-pounds is considered standard test weight for wheat, but we may get 52-55 pounds, which means less return on investment."

Schnakenberg said in farming, producers are dependent on the weather.

"We deal with the cards dealt to us, and there is a benefit to the rain as well, and that's the moisture," Schnakenberg said. "But, we're going to have to have a little dry time to get the ground dried up. We try to get beans done before the end of June, preferably.

"That's going to be hard to do this year. We've had this situation before, but this year it seems to be persisting longer than normal."

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