Archbold, OH

Farmers “Comfortably Patient,” Richer Says

Eric Richer, Fulton County agricultural extension agent, said county farmers are “comfortably patient,” waiting for their fields to dry enough to begin spring planting.

But, they may become anxious if rain predicted for the end of this week materializes.

As of Monday night, the National Weather Service was calling for a chance of showers as high as 30% for Saturday through Monday.

“Since April 8, Wauseon has gotten 4.65 inches of rain, all in about three weeks. There has not been a lot of sunny weather,” he said.

Through April 22, the Archbold Wastewater Treatment plant recorded 4.5 inches of rain.

“It feels like we’ve had 60 days of March,” Richer said.

Cold and damp conditions have put the planting behind when compared to an average year.

On the other hand, Richer said, “We’re right on pace with 2010 and 2011, and we saw some of our best corn crops in those years.”

Those were some pretty wet Aprils. In April 2010, six inches of rain were recorded. In April 2011, a whopping 8.3 inches of liquid sunshine fell.

Rainfall in April 2012, the drought year, was 2.1 inches. Lower, but not the worst by far.

April 1987 holds the title. That month, the wastewater treatment plant only recorded seven-tenths (.7) of an inch.

An old rule of thumb states after a certain date, farmers can expect to lose up to one bushel per acre of yield for every day past the deadline.

The question: what is the deadline?

“Some speak of May 10, others say May 15. I would say it is within that window,” Richer said.

“After the last three years, I would say you’ve got until May 15” before yield losses can be expected.

There’s some extra time for soybeans. Richer said farmers planting beans can probably plant as late as May 20 before expecting yield losses.

“In 2010 and 2011, we planted (soybeans) late, and we had some nice yields,” he said.

Meanwhile, for wheat farmers, this year’s crop looks good, in spite of all the rain.

“The wheat looks good in general. It’s greening up nicely,” he said

There is also the potential for a big crop for those growing alfalfa as well.

Wheat and alfalfa are secondary crops to corn and soybeans.

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