Cold wet spring then warm wet spring challenges grain farmers in Ohio

Weather always a challenge for farmers

Nearly nine million acres of Ohio’s land is planted with annual crops according to Crop Acreage data from the USDA Farm Service in 2017. The top two production crops by acre are soybeans and corn. 

Spring planting is almost complete for most farmers in the Miami Valley. Many have been conflicted about whether to plant corn or soybeans based on the uncertainty of trade tariffs. This field along Dayton-Farmersville and Lutheran Church Roads had two tractors with grain drills planting. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Prospective Plantings Report released in March shows that Ohio farmers are planting more than five million acres of soybeans and almost three-and-a-half million acres of corn this year. 

PHOTOS: Wet, dry, wet: spring planting/growing a challenge for farmers

One of the biggest challenges to successful crops is the weather. And this spring has been no exception. A cool, wet early spring gave way to a hot wet spring with rain falling almost every day in June. 

Soybean fields in Clinton County saturated after many days of rain in June. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

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Ohio Farm Bureau Spokesman Joe Cornely said the cold April delayed the planting of corn by a few days, but most farmers were able to catch up when the weather changed. In Northwest Ohio, though, farmers are further behind. Rain delayed planting, and farmers are just now able to start work in the field. Those farmers will have to decide whether to take a risk and plant their crops or rely on insurance to cover their losses. 

Soybean fields in Clinton County beginning to grow. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees

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Cornely said weather patterns have narrowed the window in which farmers can plant their crops, but technological advances have allowed them to plant faster. “We’ll never weatherproof agriculture,” he said. “But if my grandfather hadn’t planted his corn by now, he’d have a disaster. Now we might still have a very good season.”

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