Hello northeast Ohio and northwest Pennsylvania dairy farmers. What a difference a year has made. Last year we were in the middle of one of the nicest spring planting seasons on record. Now, this year’s spring is making a run for the record books as one of our all time worst springs. In fact it is looking grim across much of Ohio.
The crop report from last week showed only 11 percent of corn planted compared to the five year average of 80 percent. Soybeans are only 4 percent planted compared to a normal 54 percent.
With chances of rain in the forecast for most of this week, we are reaching a crucial time for planting corn. We need a break from Mother Nature and the clock is ticking.
As we approach Memorial Day weekend, many farmers are wondering if it is time to switch to soybeans, stay with corn, or opt for the preventative plant payments of their crop insurance coverage.
Two of my colleagues, Chris Bruynis and Barry Ward, recently released a decision aid spreadsheet that farmers can use to enter their own production information to determine which choice might be best for their operation. The model also allows users to enter their own assumptions about maximum yield potential, harvest market prices, input costs, and crop insurance coverage levels.
This model was created using historical yield data for Ohio to determine potential corn and soybean yields for late planted crops. Although the assumptions in the model may not hold true if favorable weather conditions continue this summer as they did in 2009, or unfavorable conditions like 2002, this model is a good estimation of probable yield levels this fall.
The model also provides a chart on typical grain moistures at later planting dates allowing the user to adjust the drying charges. The OSU Extension Decision Aid can be downloaded from http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu or from the Ashtabula County Extension web page at http://ashtabula.osu.edu.
This model was patterned after the decision aid created by Ryan Batts, Emerson Nafziger and Gary Schnitkey at the University of Illinois located at www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/fasttools/index.asp.
Producers will want to continue accessing the Ohio Ag Manager website at http://ohioagmanager.osu.edu as our team will continue to provide updates and decision aids which can help producers as they making planting and insurance decisions.
I encourage each of you to bookmark the Ohio Ag Manager website on your computer today.
Producers will also want to access OSU Extension’s Agronomy website at: http://agcrops.osu.edu/. This website features the Crop Observation and Recommendation Network newsletter. This weekly newsletter is written by the agronomy team and highlights the hot disease, insect and growth issues of the growing season.
The website also contains in-depth information on corn, soybean, wheat, forages, weeds, diseases, insects, crop injury, fertility, equipment, precision agriculture, markets, weather and soil management. There are many pictures to help producers identify insects and diseases.
I know this team is also preparing additional materials as farmers face this challenging planting season.
To end today’s column, I would like to share an anonymous quote which states “In our lives there is bound to come some pain, surely as there are storms and falling rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun.”
Have a good, safe and hopefully sunny day!
(The author is an assistant professor and Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension educator in Ashtabula County. He can be reached at 440-576-9008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)