Farmers look for fields to dry out
Area farmers are hoping things dry out and warm up so they can get into their fields.
Wheat harvest in Marion County ordinarily starts in mid- to late June.
“With all the wet weather we’ve had, and the cooler weather, I’m thinking we’ll probably get started in late June,” strategic account manager for MKC Jared Jones said last week.
He said area farmers he’s spoken to remain optimistic despite many of the fields around rivers and creeks being covered with water last week.
“At this point, extra rain can cause lower yields and make it harder to get in if it doesn’t dry out,” Jones said. “We’ve had some hail in these storms that has affected some of these farmers. That’s another thing this time of year is the hail. That can cause problems.”
As long as things dry out, harvest, yields, and quality should not be bad, Jones said.
“Hopefully it will dry out, and we’ll get the wheat out,” he said.
Saturated fields present problems for planting equipment for secondary crops, he said. Soybeans are the most common secondary crop, but some farmers plant milo.
“A lot of people want to go in and plant as soon as they get the wheat out,” he said. “As long as they don’t leave too many tracks, they can get in and plant again, so we need it to dry out.”
Soybeans need to be in the field by July 5, Jones said.
“If you plant much past that, you run the risk of your plants not finishing up before the freeze in the fall,” he said.
May provided few opportunities to plant soybeans, and some farmers are eager to get it in the field.
“At this point, we’ve probably had enough rain to last the wheat,” he said.
Wheat fields are so thick with residue and straw that if more rain falls, fields will stay wet.
“It’s possible for too much rain to cause the head to sprout, and that’s not good,” he said. “We typically don’t have that happen, but that’s one of the things that can happen if it stays wet for too long.”
Jones said that the wheat looked good overall, but a lot can happen between now and harvest.
Corn, already in the field and far from harvest, is looking a bit yellow.
“We haven’t had a lot of heat. That’s important, too,” he said.
Many farmers try to balance their workload by getting their planting done before the wheat harvest, he said.
“A lot of folks are waiting for that window,” Jones said.