Garden Spots Hard to Find in Indiana This Year

All crops are on slow track- some areas better than others.

Published on: Jul 1, 2009
Visitors on the Indiana Farm Management Tour at the Wappel Farm in Starke County last week seemed surprised to hear that there were farmers yet to plant a soybean. Or that in central to south-central Indiana, many farmers still had form 100 to 800 acres of crops left to plant as of the day the tour was held- June 23. Their crops outside their shop door aren't as far along as they might like, but for the most part, they look good, especially by any standards you might set for this season.

In fact, some seeing their crops in the far northwest corner of Indiana joked it was the garden spot of the state this year. And although time will eventually tell the story, both corn and soybeans looked green and healthy in most fields- just not super big yet. Only the biggest corn appeared to approach waist high.

There's one other caveat to remember. Many of the soils in that area, although certainly not all, are sandy or lighter in texture and organic matter than many other soils in other parts of Indiana. That generally means that they can be planted earlier in typical years- although this wasn't a typical spring season. Planting was late there too, but happened for the most part in May. Since their soils are more prone to drought, the next few weeks will determine yield potential on many of their soils, especially if they're not irrigated.

Meanwhile, even where crops were planted in other areas of the state in late May, many fields don't look good- especially corn fields. Those fields with any wet spots or a high content of clay that causes the soil to stay wetter are certainly hurting. Before a string of hot days in late June, many fields were very uneven and yellow in spots. To top it all off, it was too wet to both spray and apply sidedress nitrogen in those fields.

In Green County one enterprising dealer has already made arrangements to pick up an application rig that will allow him to make late nitrogen applications in tall corn. His thinking is that some won't get all of their sidedressing done before the corn gets too tall, since here have been so many delays due to cool weather and rains.

Kerry Graves, Greene County, is one farmer who may take advantage of that service. "We've got wheat on now and there's just so much to do," Graves says. "Plus we just haven't had a good window to get it done."