If corn isn’t planted by now, it won’t be

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COLUMBUS – Believe it or not, there are still corn fields in Ohio that are still waiting to be planted.

But at this stage of the growing season, fields intended for corn are likely to get switched to soybeans in order to minimize farm income losses.

In Ohio, 97 percent of the corn crop has been planted, according to the USDA, but some growers are looking for a way to use unplanted ground.

“Yield reductions are not as great with late planting in soybeans as compared to corn,” said Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension corn agronomist.

Most beans are in. Ohio soybean growers will be planting into the second week in July, said Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State University Extension soybean specialist. At that point, yield potential is 10 to 30 bushels per acre, as compared to 40 to 80 bushels per acre planted early.

Most of the soybean crop has been planted with the recent fairly decent weather, he said.

“Total acreage of row crops will be normal this year,” Beuerlein said. “Corn and wheat acreage are down, but soybeans will pick up the slack.”

Wheat is down about 200,000 acres and corn is projected to be down about 400,000 acres. That suggests a half-million-acre increase in soybeans, he said.

“So many other states have had a normal season up until now that losses won’t be catastrophic,” said Matt Roberts, Ohio State agricultural economist. “We’re not talking huge damage with farm income, but it will marginally reduce income for Eastern Corn Belt growers.”

Switching from corn to soybeans will affect farm income slightly, but if the growing season has ideal weather, yields will help offset late-planted acreage, Roberts said.

Market prices have already seen the impact with corn prices increasing and soybean prices remaining flat. Price increases, however, will not completely offset yield losses, he said.

“Up to this point, the Eastern Corn Belt – Illinois, Indiana and Ohio – has had a bad year,” Roberts said. “The weather we get from here on out matters much more than what we’ve had up until this point. The important part of the growing season is still left.”

Similar to 1996. Planting problems seen this year are similar to those seen in 1996 when a significant percent of acres was planted late, Thomison said. Dry, hot weather conditions during the growing season resulted in reduced yields.

As in 1996, corn plants this year will have shallow root systems because of delayed planting and marginal soil conditions at planting, decreasing their tolerance for hot, dry weather in July and August, he said.

Growers not only face potential yield losses but also additional expenses associated with grain drying at the end of the season, Thomison said.

Over the past several years, crops have been harvested fairly early, which may not be the case with this year’s crop.

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