Pests and diseases sometimes develop in patterns, and sometimes not. To get a sampling of what is happening in the Midwest, Michigan Farmer, Indiana Prairie Farmer and Ohio Farmer editors have teamed up and lured in, or more accurately roped in, a couple of observers in key parts of their states to report every two weeks on what's happening in their fields. Click on the map to see where each reporter is commenting from.
Reporting From Indiana
Bill Pickart: North-central Indiana- corn planting was back in full swing by Tuesday, May 14 in my immediate area. I rode along with a neighbor planting corn and it was working well. We only had about 0.3 to 0.4 inches of rain over the past weekend, while areas farther south received more rain. We were already drier anyway. Many farmers are finishing corn, or are done and are now planting soybeans. The soil is working up like a garden in many fields. Conditions were nearly ideal for germination of corn planted already, and it spiked through in just a week. Just 30 miles west in the Lafayette area farmers are saying they're still two weeks behind. They've had more rain there and scattered showers are forecast on and off through this weekend.
Jim Facemire: In south-central Indiana, it's a different story here. People have been spraying burndown, and we no-tilled 100 acres of soybeans on lighter ground earlier this week. We are planting seed corn. However, there are still wet spots in heavier soils. We're concerned about the chance for showers this weekend. The weather service tends to underestimate the chances for rain when the Indianapolis 500 and qualifying are going on. If we don't get rain things will improve. One farmer who no-tilled soybeans two weeks ago says they're not coming up because the soil got hard, and he is ready to replant. There are also reports of sidewall compaction affecting corn emergence on corn that was planted earlier when conditions weren't ideal. The bottom line is, things are starting to happen, but we're still far behind and vulnerable to rain since soils are just drying out.
Reporting From Ohio
Luke VanTilburg: We are just over 50% done on our corn and about 75% on beans. This year we will plant two thirds of our acres to corn and one third to beans. There are several fields of wheat being destroyed because they have significant water damage. There was very little wheat planted in our area last fall, but now there will be even less. If it stays dry, we will be done this week. There is still plenty of soil moisture. Overall things are going in very well in near ideal conditions. Started to look for insects in alfalfa, but haven't seen anything at threshold levels yet.
Dan Corcoran: I think in my final statement last time I said no bugs yet... well, 'yet' has arrived.
The alfalfa weevil showed up with an appetite on some fields and not others. We were mowing May 13, hopefully the weather person gets me to Thursday? Oh well, that is making hay in Ohio.
Corn is all over the board. Our early corn is three-leaf stage and looks to have handled the cold, is it over? We have seen some slug feeding, but not too bad. We did manage to plant 600 acres of popcorn and some more beans. Last week we were rained out of fields with two rains of just over an inch total. On Monday we found a few dry fields and have been planting since. I think we will run until rain, but now our wet farms will need three more drying days.
Pastures are slowly greening up ahead of the cow herds appetite. Spring is a beautiful time of the year on the farm.
Reporting From Michigan
Janna Fritz: Oh what a difference a few days can make! There has been a flurry of activity in the Thumb's fields recently. For our farm, we have completed corn planting and should have all the soybeans in by the end of the week. We will wait a week or so though before putting the dry beans in. For others in the northern Thumb area, almost all have completed sugar beet planting. Many are done planting corn as well and have moved on to soybeans. In the southern Thumb, corn planting seems a bit slower due to wet, untiled fields. I have also helped plant a number of corn test plots over recent weeks. The wheat fields are looking good except in areas that held significant standing water spots. The sun is shining and farmers seem happier now that they have gotten their seeds in the dirt!
Richard P. Dobbins: We are 100% planted with soybeans, and 80% planted with corn. As I look around our fellow farmers in this area, the same is true with corn, but not as true with beans. We have two planters, so we were able to get our 600 acres of soybeans in and we're still working on our 2,200 acres of field corn. We did finish planning our 200 acres of seed corn.
On our corn acres we're spraying a post-plant, pre-emergence weed and feed.
We've been tremendously dry with the heat and a lot of wind that we've had. I started the pivots up already – that's the earliest we ever have.
Everyone in south central is about in the same shape we're in. This area did not get as much rain in the spring as parts of the rest of the state. We do hope it rains – they're saying maybe Monday, but not much.
As soon as we finish up our corn up and get our spraying done, we'll start side-dressing corn, which in some areas is up with two leafs. It's coming up really fast with these warm soils.
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