Inclement Weather Halts Midwestern Planting

A recent string of bad weather in the Midwest has prevented corn planting, according to the USDA. The past several days have seen the Midwest hit with unusually wet weather. Ohio, for example, reported one of the wettest Aprils in recent memory, with the Cincinnati area reporting over 13 inches of rain. The Dakotas have recently reported heavy flooding, due in part to melting snows.

This unusual weather has prevented agricultural planting, particularly the planting of corn crops. Saturated soil makes it difficult to operate farm machinery and equipment, and planting seeds in overly wet or moist soil can damage seeds and prevent their germination. In addition, soil temperatures have been too low to allow planting. In Iowa, for example, the lack of sun and the persistence of cloudy, rainy weather have prevented soil from warming adequately. Most Iowa soil, for example, is below the 50 degrees needed for germination.

Currently, the USDA has estimated that Iowa has planted three percent of its corn crop, well behind the typical twenty eight percent at this time in previous years. The largest corn producers in the Midwest have reported similar slowdowns, with only nine percent of the corn crop planted versus twenty three percent averages in previous years. Not only corn is affected, but wheat, sugar beets, and other crops remain currently unplanted.

While farmers still have a few weeks to plant their crops in order to maintain yield potential, the slowdown has worried many, particularly due to rising food costs and increased demand for ethanol. The rainy weather does not appear to be letting up, with weather forecasts predicting more spring storms developing in the Plains.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer