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Indiana, Ohio Farmers Now Ahead Of Five-year Pace In Planting Crops

Indiana and Ohio farmers who a month ago were wondering when they would get a break from rain to work their fields continued to take advantage of May weather opportunities, surging ahead of the five-year average pace in planting corn and soybeans.

Despite cool temperatures and intermittent rain last week, Indiana farmers had planted 86 percent of the intended corn acreage as of the week ending May 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service said. That put farmers ahead of the five-year average - 77 percent - for the first time following weeks of planting delays from frequent and heavy rains in April.

It wasn't only the weather that enabled farmers to catch up so quickly; larger equipment, including planters, used today allows for faster planting, noted Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist.

"The combination of favorable soil conditions and today's high-capacity field equipment allowed Indiana corn growers to plant 78 percent of the state's corn crop during the past three weeks," he said.

Ohio farmers, who had planted 89 percent of the state's intended corn acreage, surpassed the five-year average of 71 percent in previous weeks. According to the NASS, a recent lack of rain has led some Ohio growers to hold off on further planting until rain moves through.

Fifty-six percent of Indiana's corn had emerged, slightly below the five-year average of 59 percent. Fifty-two percent of the Ohio crop had emerged - exactly on-par with the state's five-year average.

Indiana soybean farmers planted 60 percent of the crop by May 26, while Ohio farmers planted 70 percent. Both states' five-year average is 49 percent. Soybeans typically are planted after corn.

Twenty-four percent of Indiana's soybean crop had emerged, compared with the five-year average of 30 percent. Twenty-seven percent of Ohio's crop had emerged, matching the five-year average.

For Indiana's wheat crop, the cool, wet spring slowed maturation, the NASS said. But there were few reports of disease or insect problems. As of May 26, 68 percent of the state's wheat crop had headed, compared with a five-year average of 78 percent.

With 59 percent headed, Ohio's wheat crop has more closely mirrored the state's five-year average of 61 percent.

Hay was ready to cut throughout Indiana, the NASS said, although the constant threat of rain made it difficult for farmers to get the crop baled and into their barns without it getting wet. As of May 26, farmers had completed a first cutting on 22 percent of the state's alfalfa acres. The five-year average is 30 percent.

Twenty-seven percent of Ohio's hay crop had undergone a first cutting.

The NASS said most of Indiana's fruit and berry crops would make it through the bloom stage this year with little damage from frost. Ohio, on the other hand, suffered a recent freeze in some areas and the NASS received at least one report of fruit-crop damage.

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