It's Been A Heckuva Spring!

Nor' east Thinkin'

Being over-equipped will pay handsomely this year

Published on: May 20, 2011

You probably suffered from sticker shock at the price of the last planter you bought. Hopefully, you didn't down-size planter capacity because of it. And here's why:

This year, most farmers in the Northeast are needing every bit of planting speed and machine capacity they can muster – and maybe more. Those who socked corn into the ground last week saw the fruits of their labor pop through the ground this week.

On Tuesday, I was so excited to spot my first field of corn breaking ground. (Yes, I still get excited about stuff like that. It's the farm kid in me.)

But that first sighting of corn was three to four weeks behind normal. Except for Delaware, Maryland and perhaps New Jersey, planting progress in most of the Northeast still is woefully behind schedule. Consider these numbers from USDA crop reporters for the week of May 16:

  • Delaware: Six days of fieldwork; 74% of corn planted; near the average.
  • Maryland: Six days of fieldwork: 78% of corn planted; near average.
  • New England: Five fieldwork days; 10% of corn planted vs. 25% average.
  • New Jersey: More than six fieldwork days; no report on corn planted.
  • New York: Five fieldwork days; 20% of corn planted vs. 55% average.
  • Pennsylvania: Five fieldwork days; 34% of corn planted vs. 68% average

With this week's almost daily showers and thunder-boomers sweeping across the East, most corn planters once again were stilled or collecting mud. On Thursday, I spotted several Amish horses that could just well have been pulling boats instead of buggies.

So if you bought a bigger and better planter in the last year or two, pat yourself on the back for your foresight. This year, speed of planting will pay handsomely.

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