Agriculture
8:21 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Excessive Rain May Challenge Corn Growers

Soggy fields like this one in Callaway County, Mo., have delayed planting in much of the Midwest.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

It’s been a wet spring in the Midwest – and that’s got corn growers a little behind on planting.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 91 percent of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of June 2, compared to 95 percent at the same time last year.

Iowa, the nation’s largest producer of corn, has only got 88 percent of the crop in ground. In Missouri, 86 percent.

Last year, growers in both states were done with planting by now. But besides the late planting, the abundance of water presents other challenges for farmers.

Lanny Frakes is a corn and soybean farmer in Rushville, Mo. The excessive rainfall this year has not only delayed his planting 2-3 weeks, but also left some of his fields covered in standing water.

“And it will probably drown out some of the corn that was planted,” he says.

With the delay, crop insurance also comes into play, according to Bruce Rowher, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

“Just the fact that we are into the first week of June, it is an exceptionally late time to be planting corn and it could be that it’s best for people to take the preventive planting that crop insurance offers,” he says.

The only certainty, says Rowher, is that there will be fewer planted acres in the Corn Belt than the record that was forecast by the USDA in March.