Oklahoma doesn't exactly set the pace when it comes to corn. But there are people there who grow corn, or who at least try to grow it. One of those is Devon Hardy, El Reno, Okla. He begins planting in mid-March and hopes to be done by April 15. If he plants later than that, the Oklahoma summers generally prove too much for corn pollination during the critical period.
"I planted some and it has been frosted off three times," he said recently. Actually, it got frosted two days later after we talked to him.
"We'll have to wait and see what happens to it. Other ground I was going to plant to corn will now go to grain sorghum because it's just too late to be planting corn here." El Reno is in the central part of Oklahoma, not far from Oklahoma City.
Back in the Midwest, a trip across southern and central Illinois, including near Decatur, usually the racehorse flats part of Illinois, showed that little to no planting was done, and the fields were wet. Rain came again late this past week. The calendar is definitely skewed for that area.
In Indiana the southern 60% of the state – with some exceptions along the eastern side – is still wet, with only a minimal amount of planting completed. Planters were flying last week before rains came Thursday night in northeast and north central Indiana, which missed rains from the weekend before.
Put it all together and so far it's a mixed bag. It appears there was very little corn planted in April, and places that typically see corn planted in April still don't have any corn in the ground. By contrast, there are areas where perhaps half the crop is planted. With a 24-row planter planting long days (but not around the clock), you can plant 300 acres or more. Even if you have some odd-shaped fields thrown in where soils were suitable, a lot of corn can go in the ground in a hurry.
But if you don't have any corn planted, you're not alone – did you see the picture of the planter in the snow last week? Here's hoping for a return to something far different than last year, but closer to normal.