Successful planting season for many in 2015

In travel destinations and conversations around the state during the spring planting season, the OCJ and Ohio Ag Net staff members get a fairly broad vantage point of the ups and downs of corn and soybean planting progress. When combined with the official crop progress numbers, it reveals a good general picture of the planting season.

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service for the week ending May 31, Ohio’s corn was 93% planted, which was 8% ahead of last year and 12% ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans in Ohio were 85% planted compared to the 64% five year average and 61% last year. Prior to that, big planting progress took place the week ending May 13 with 40% of the state’s corn crop and 19% of the soybean going into the ground, according to USDA.

Along with the numerical data, here are some of the updates through the 2015 planting season from different farmers around Ohio.


April 28

It was the second day of planting for MKB Farms in Crawford County. Ty Higgins rode with Nick Kocher for a Cab Cam video and Kocher had this to say.

“It is drier than we thought it would be and it is going well so far. The weeds were tough coming out of winter. The wheat stubble going to beans this year had some real issues. We had some volunteer wheat coming up this spring,” he said. “We have gone with the wives tale of when the pin oak leaves are the size of squirrel ears — and they are there. We are starting to see some leaves out on trees and that is Mother Nature’s way of telling us we should be running.”


May 2

Nate Douritas at the Farm Science Review in Madison County was rolling right along with a new John Deere planting at 10 miles per hour and was pleased at the planting progress at that point.

“We are finding really good conditions. This is our fourth day of planting,” he said. “We have been in a nice little window here to plant. We have been drying out and we are getting nice soil and temperatures for planting corn and soybeans.”


May 5

Joel Penhorwood got to ride in the cab with Doug Henry of Logan County, who was glad to finally see some sunshine.

“It is nice to have some warm temperatures. That is what we are looking for. The ground has warmed up just the way we like it. We started last week and we have about 500 acres planted. We are not working very hard at it yet — the ground is still a little heavy. We have been waiting until the afternoon to start,” Henry said. “We have a row of peony bushes at our house. Just about always the first peonies will be blooming when we start planting and they are not yet. I expect that to be in the next day or two, but we are a little ahead of planting as far as our normal ground temperatures.

“We have some ground in Champaign County that has some gravel under it and it has dried out a lot faster. Planting has progressed pretty well there. As you go north, the ground is a little heavier and things are just getting started. There are probably not many acres planted yet to the north of us.”


May 7

Josh Yoder of Logan County was moving right along and was glad for a little rain after things got a bit too dry on the farm.

“We got some rain and it was a life saver for us,” Yoder said. “The first corn I got planted was last week and it should be up by the weekend or the first part of next week.”


May 11

John Wilson’s planting season was nearing its conclusion as he rolled through the field working some corn stalk ground for soybeans in a Franklin County field on the outskirts of Columbus.

“We started April 17 and that corn is up with four leaves and looking good. We’re down to about 500 acres of beans and we’ll be wrapped up in a couple of days,” he said. “We’re going to hope for big yields because the price isn’t there. Some of this stuff is at breakeven prices right now.”


May 11

In his May 11 Between the Rows report, Andy Rodefer of Preble County painted a very different picture from much of the state.

“We have made some progress, but it has still been pretty challenging in this area. We started planting on May 2 and planted until May 4. Then we ended up getting about 1.5 inches of rain on May 4 and it pounded stuff into the ground — something we definitely did not need. We were out last week until Friday and we were able to plant beans. Then we planted corn on Saturday and Sunday. We got another .7 last night.

“Most people have gotten started around here but there are still some farmers who haven’t started planting yet. If you go north two miles and south 10 miles they have been missing the rains. We have been getting hit here pretty steady and field conditions have really not been ideal for planting, but the corn that we planted first is all up and it does look pretty good.”


May 14

After a slow start to the season, Chris Lutmer in Warren County was pleased to share with Ty Higgins that plenty of progress had finally been made.

“I think we’re getting along pretty good now. There for a while we were behind. Once it finally dried out in the last week and a half we got a bunch done. Most of the corn is done around here and guys are finally getting along really well with beans, and we kind of need a rain around here,” he said. “It is planting really nice. We have some wetter farms and they are finally drying out. It worked down nice and we got things cleaned up. We are really happy with the way it is going in.”


May 26

For week one of the AgriGold Feeding Farmers in the Fields program, Dale Minyo and company stopped in with lunch at Maple View Farms in Erie County. The farm is run by Keith Edwards and two of his sons Kirk and Kent.

As far as their spring, Keith said planting had gone very well compared to other years.

“We’ve had actually what we’d call a normal spring, which we haven’t had in many years,” Keith said. “It’s been a good spring. We are sidedressing. Spraying — we’ve got a little moratorium on that — we’re in between spraying time. And hay, as soon as we get a weather window we’re ready to cut hay, but we’re dry right now.”


In general, Ohio corn and soybean growers had fairly cooperative conditions, especially compared to the very challenging planting season in 2014. The slow start this spring had many fearing the worst, but a sudden warm up, followed by a cool wet period for most of the state, led to a successful planting season for many.

There were, however, some notable exceptions with conditions that were too cold, too wet or too dry. Ohio State University corn specialist Peter Thomison has heard of a broad range of problems showing up in Ohio corn fields this spring in localized areas.

“Some of the usual culprits are causing corn problems. The cold weather contributed to cork screw corn emergence and some marginal looking corn plants due to limited nitrogen uptake in the cold weather. I have heard about some compaction issues where maybe some growers got on too early and there were areas of the field where the corn just wasn’t coming up well. We encountered the same problem where the conditions looked very nice on top but maybe two inches below the soil surface it was wet and gummy in some of the Hoytville clays and other heavy soils. It planted nicely but not too far down it was still wet and got compacted in some areas,” Thomison said. “In contrast, some corn germinated in dry seed beds and there was no moisture. The roots got dehydrated and desiccated and they are gone. They are not going to do anything now.”

There were also problems with persistent rainfall in some places.

“There were also some logistical issues with too much rain in some areas where it was hard to get herbicide application or nitrogen application done in a timely way,” Thomison said. “So much got planted in one week this year that we ended up being a lot earlier than last year. Overall I think that was a good thing, though some of the people may have been pushing it a bit with some of those acres. I don’t think planting that much in a week is an issue. Given the GDDs for emergence, the differences between emergence from late April and mid May are only just a few days anyway.”

While good soybean stands are also common around Ohio, a few growers are seeing damping-off and uneven emergence, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small grains specialist with Ohio State University Extension.

“If soybean emergence is uneven, growers should determine the cause before making decisions on whether they need to replant,” Lindsey said. “Most reports I’ve heard from growers are that things are looking good right now, with a few reports from some growers of uneven soybean emergence because of dry soil.

“To determine the cause of uneven emergence, growers can dig up seed in an area of the field that has no plants emerged to see if the germinated seed is healthy and free of disease or insect damage. If the seed is healthy and germinated but just not broken through the soil, growers don’t need to worry because a little bit of rainfall will help it to continue to emerge.”

Now the focus will turn to the early growing season that is predicted to be slightly warmer and wetter than normal for Ohio, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Stayed tuned for up-to-the-minute crop progress updates throughout the season at



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