SALEM, Ohio — A warmer than usual spring coupled with dry conditions helped farmers in Ohio and Pennsylvania get a jumpstart on this year’s planting.
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture corn report for Ohio — through April 25 — shows 45 percent of corn has been planted, a convincing 41 percent ahead of last year. Soybeans planted were at 13 percent, compared to 5 percent for the five-year average.
In Pennsylvania, 18 percent of corn had been planted, well ahead of last year’s 6 percent. About 4 percent of Pa. soybeans have been planted.
Ohio State University corn agronomist Peter Thomison said on April 26 he’s heard reports from Ohio counties where 80-90 percent of corn has been planted.
Reports of 40-60 percent in a county were more popular, but most of the region does appear ahead of schedule compared to previous years.
Thomison said growers are calling this year “as good of planting conditions as they can recall in some years,” especially comparing this year to 2009.
For soybeans, he’s heard reports from counties that already have planted 25 percent.
A faster start
Last year, U.S. Department of Agriculture reported only about 5 percent of corn had been planted by mid-April.
Tom Pugh, agronomy salesman with Agland Co-op of Beloit, Ohio, said most of the large growers he serves are “well on their way” to having their crop in the ground, while smaller operations are still getting started.
“There’s a difference between 2,000 acres and 200 acres,” he said, adding smaller operations should still have plenty of time.
The recent rainfall was likely a blessing to most growers in the region, and some of what has been planted already has sprouted.
“It’s been outstanding so far,” Pugh said. “Everybody was worried about the soil temperatures but the seed is germinating.”
Soil temperatures are a critical factor in determining how long it takes seeds to germinate. Thomison said he’s not yet worried, but said temperatures will soon need to return to the 50s or higher to provide more assurance.
The National Weather Service Forecast shows daytime highs for the two-state region are headed back into the 70s, with lows in the 50s.
Thomison suggests growers plant their long-maturity hybrids first, and plant the early-maturing varieties last. This gives them the most chance to succeed and maximize the benefits of the growing season.