Lucky Few Haven't Had to Replant

Hoosier Perspectives

Another strange spring- the new normal?

Published on: June 7, 2010

If you farm any acreage at all and have made it to this point without replanting at least an acre or two, consider yourself fortunate. Reports funnel in about replanting one thing or another. The only good part of the story is that it's typically only one field or part of a field. It's not typically been a whole farm as happens some years with flooding or other calamities.

One friend from Greene County spotted in less than 50 acres of corn, but he felt like he drove over 200 acres to do it. That sounds like ratty corn, but the warm weather kicked in and when he sent me a picture of his pride and joy old IH 1206 applying nitrogen solution, the corn looked pretty good. It has to be a pretty special occasion for him to get out his favorite tractor, chrome stack and all, and actually take it to the field.

The person I helped a bit this spring had to replant about four bags of seed corn. It was mainly in wet fields that haven't been tiled for years if they ever were tiled. What's more, they likely never will be tiled. The ground is too close to developed areas for the absentee owners to think about investing in tile, especially when they can command a decent cash rent without doing it. It's one of the facts of life in agriculture today.

That corn was planted in late April. Certain days turned out to be less favorable then others for planting, as is always the case. The trick, as always, is knowing when those days are. You can let your equipment sit for a day or two , waiting out the rain, and as Woody Hayes, the late Ohio State University football coach used to say about passing the football instead of running, three things can happen, and two of them are bad.

In this case, you can wait and it turns wet and cool. You look like a genius when the neighbor comes back in replanting and you escaped that chore. On the other hand, you can wait, watch it rain and not be able to get in again for three weeks. The neighbor's crop may not be perfect, but it's better than yours that sat in the bag. Check the yield charts and see how that would work out for you.

Or you can wait and the weathermen miss the forecast. It doesn't rain at all. Then you're just behind by two days for nothing. That's one good result and two bad ones- not good odds. Making those decisions is never easy, but it's certainly tough to wait when others are running.

As noted, I planted a few soybeans for my friend while he planted corn this spring. Technically, I didn't have to replant anything that I planted. Notice the word 'technically.' I had to pull back into two different fields on the way home from finishing the last field, unfold the planter, and plant about an acre in each field.

It wasn't replant though- no sir! I just never planted it the first time! One didn't surprise me- I finished in the dark- the second one- well who knows what happened? Besides, it was only one pass. Of course, one pass with an 8-row split row planter across a half-mile field looks conspicuous when nothing is growing in it.

And so another planting season draws closer to the end. Here's hoping those few who have gotten the short end of the weather stick get to finish soon- for the last time this year!