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June 15, 2013

Recent rains impact area farmers

Farmers looking to replant soybeans, but not corn

The past week’s heavy rainfall in Howard and Tipton counties is having an impact on the local agricultural community.

Parts of the two counties have received between 2 and 8 inches of rain during the storms that passed through the area last Sunday and Wednesday. The National Weather Service is predicting scattered showers for this weekend and into Monday.

The question is whether the crops will survive, Bob Nielson, an agronomist with Purdue University, said Friday.

Nielson said if water is standing in fields for four or five days, the plants will probably not survive.

“It’s probably not a surprise to the growers where there are low-lying fields,” he said. “It’s frustrating to them.”

Nielson said some growers will experience lower yields because of the standing water.

“It’s a wait and see,” he said. “In fields with good tile drainage the plants may survive. Fields that will not drain, the crops will have to be replanted.”

Nielson said growers have until July 4 to replant soybeans and still produce a crop. He said for corn, it will be risky to plant again this year.

“It could take a couple of weeks for the fields to dry enough for the farmers to get back into the fields,” he said.

Tipton County farmer Kip Bergman said portions of his fields received 2 inches of rain and others received more than 6 inches of precipitation.

“I will replant mostly beans,” he said. “It’s too late for corn. The corn may not be hurt if the water didn’t get above the top of the plant.”

Bergman said area farmers need an extended period of warm weather to overcome the moist conditions.

“I purchased a ditch machine in 1998 and have been aggressive in installing drainage tile on my farm,” he said. “It has paid off dramatically.”

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