From Corn to Soy, Farmers Adapt

By Max Resnik

June 7, 2011 Updated Jun 7, 2011 at 5:32 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indian’s NewsCenter) – May went down as the second wettest month in Fort Wayne’s History. The result? Farmers are scrambling to yield any crop this year.

According to Gonzalee Martin, a local Agricultural Extension Agent, the time to try corn again has run out. He says many farmers are making the switch to soy. Martin says soy can be planted through June 20. Planting after that date is risky according to Martin.

Record rainfall is the culprit in this slow harvest story. Not only was May the second wettest month on record, it was also the wettest month of May in Fort Wayne’s history.

The rain, according to Martin, suffocated the corn. He says corn can typically survive for up to 48 hours under the flood conditions the area saw for the month of May. If the crops are under water any longer than 48 hours, they are lost.

The switch to soy may not be so easy says Martin.

“Some farmers can't switch to soybeans if they've got a corn herbicide that's not labeled for soybeans. So then they have no option other than probably to let that field just lay there all summer or to go in and plant corn late, see what yields they get and then get the rest of it in the insurance they probably have.”

Insurance agents could be receiving a lot of calls this year from farmers who are under contract to provide corn.

The next three months will be crucial for farmers according to Martin.

“What's going to really make the difference here is you talk about July, August and September. Those are the three months that are going to be very critical in terms of the yields that these farmers will make. Even though farmers are late planting now, they can still get good yields depending on the weather conditions in July, August and September.”

Martin says the rapid increase in heat should help seed germination. He says seeds, under these conditions, can germinate in four to six days.




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