Weather always a challenge for farmers

Nearly nine million acres of Ohio’s land is planted with annual crops according to Crop Acreage data from the USDA Farm Service in 2017. The top two production crops by acre are soybeans and corn.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual Prospective Plantings Report released in March shows that Ohio farmers are planting more than five million acres of soybeans and almost three-and-a-half million acres of corn this year. 

One of the biggest challenges to successful crops is the weather. And this spring has been no exception. A cool, wet early spring gave way to a hot wet spring with rain falling almost every day in June. 

Ohio Farm Bureau Spokesman Joe Cornely said the cold April delayed the planting of corn by a few days, but most farmers were able to catch up when the weather changed. In Northwest Ohio, though, farmers are further behind. Rain delayed planting, and farmers are just now able to start work in the field. Those farmers will have to decide whether to take a risk and plant their crops or rely on insurance to cover their losses. 

Cornely said weather patterns have narrowed the window in which farmers can plant their crops, but technological advances have allowed them to plant faster. “We’ll never weatherproof agriculture,” he said. “But if my grandfather hadn’t planted his corn by now, he’d have a disaster. Now we might still have a very good season.”

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