Warm weather helps farmers get back in Ohio and Pa. fields


COLUMBUS – Warmer weather the third week of April helped farmers get back in the fields, according to Ohio’s and Pennsylvania’s agriculture statistics services.

Ohio planting. Tillage and planting activities were reported in many locations across the state of Ohio. In various locations, producers planted corn, oats and began drilling soybeans.

In southern Ohio, farmers planted cabbage, sweet corn and strawberries. Vegetables producers prepared soil beds for pepper, tomato and melon transplanting in late April and early May..

Ohio wheat, oats. Reporters estimated that winter wheat is 26 percent jointed; this is one day ahead of last year’s schedule but five days behind the 1998-02 average.

Forty-three percent of the oat crop has been planted. This is seven days ahead of last year but six days behind the five year average.

Respondents estimate that about 8 percent of oats have emerged. This is one day behind last year and nine days behind the 1998-02 average.

Reporters estimate 4 percent of the corn crop has been planted. This is five days ahead of last year and the same as the five-year average.

Ohio ratings. Reporters rated the majority of winter wheat at 80 percent good to excellent condition. Winter wheat top dressing is almost complete in most locations.

Pasture conditions improved greatly in response to warmer temperatures last week. Respondents reporting 68 percent in good to excellent condition.

Producers in some locations were able to move cattle on to pasture, while in other locations they continue to feed hay. Livestock was rated at 82 percent good to excellent condition.

Pennsylvania crops. In Pennsylvania, principal farm activities included spring plowing; planting oats and tobacco; fixing fences; applying lime and fertilizer; caring for livestock; preparing machinery for tillage and planting; and hauling manure.

This week’s warmer temperatures and little rainfall allowed farmers to complete more field work as compared to previous weeks. Some areas, however, were still too wet.

Cool damp conditions slowed activity later in the week. The percent of spring plowing completed jumped to 20 percent, a large increase but still 36 percent behind 2002 and 22 percent below the five-year average.

The wheat crop condition remained about the same, with 1 percent rated as very poor, 2 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 59 percent good and 9 percent excellent.

Pennsylvania oats. With all the field work, the percent of oats planted increased 22 points to 32 percent.

Percentage of oats planted is still 12 percent behind last year but only 5 percent behind the five-year average. The percent of oats emerged across the state increased slightly to 8 percent, 9 percent behind both 2002 and the five-year average.

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