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Farmers on good pace with planting

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SHOOTS: These tiny shoots on County Road 0 N/Swere barely visible last week, but drivers passing fields this week can delineate rows easily.
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PLANTING: Dust flies as a farmer works a field south of Frankfort. With recent rains, the dust has been replaced by seedlings getting a good start.

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI

<2>amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

and SHARON BARDONNER

<6>sbardonner@ftimes.com

Last week’s warm, dry weather coupled with a couple good days of rain have put local farmers ahead of their usual pace for planting, according to Clinton County Farm Bureau President Paul Dorsey. 

“Beans are coming up, and I’m spraying my corn now,” he said. “Things are looking real good.”

Clinton County farmers have been putting in long hours to plant the nearly 223,428 acres of farmland tallied by the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture. In February, the USDA deadlined its 2017 census, with data due to be out in February 2019.

Last Wednesday County Council President Alan Dunn and council member Clark Beard were heading back out into their fields after the council meeting adjourned, hoping to beat the rain showers predicted.

Farmers across Indiana have been rushing to plant a record breaking 6.1 million acres of soybeans, now that the soil is warm enough for germination, according to the Indiana Farm Bureau. 

“A lot of guys are done now,” said Dorsey. “That puts them ahead of normal, and it’s a lot better than last year.”

Dorsey said the recent rains were needed to help seeds germinate. 

“I know it was only .35 of an inch, but it helped a lot,” he noted. 

In order for roots to grow properly, farmers wait to plant until the earth gives them the green light. Soil temperatures must reach more than 50 degrees to activate the seed, and the topsoil must be dry to prevent soil compaction, which hinders root growth.

Water is necessary for growth, but too much water can cause a whole host of problems. Last year, a wet spring season drowned out many crops across the county, resulting in many farmers losing yield or having to replant, which put crops in some fields at varying stages of growth with harvest having to be staggered.

Dorsey said his mix of corn versus beans is about the same as he planted last year, but he has heard that some farmers have put more acreage in soybeans this season. 

He also said the local agriculture community is paying close attention to reports that China has been ditching orders for U.S. soybeans due to the tariffs enacted by the Trump administration.

“It’s kind of concerning,” said Dorsey. “Any disruption in the market is.”