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Indiana Crops on Record Pace, Farmer Says

Record warm spring preferred over record wet conditions.

Indiana farmers have been experiencing a good start to the 2018 crop season. With a lot of crop-weather ahead, many are hoping the trend continues.

As of this week, USDA pegged the Indiana corn crop’s good/excellent rating at 77% and the soybean crop at 74% good/excellent.

These are some of the highest ratings seen in a while, according to Dan DeSutter, west-central Indiana farmer.

The Attica, Indiana, farmer says the 2018  crop-season started with a record warm and dry spring, but that has proven to be a better scenario than the record wet spring a year ago.

“We had a rain on the first of April and didn’t have a soaking rainfall until the first of June,” DeSutter says. But, overall, the crops are off to an excellent start. A lot of corn was knee-high by the fourth of June. We still need rains to recharge the subsoil, but with timely rains from here on out, we are on track to have a real good crop.”

So far, the pests and insect pressure has not hit threshold levels, saving time and money for treatments, DeSutter says.

“Right now we can’t say that rootworms are a nonissue because counts indicate that they should be bad this year,” DeSutter says.

This west-central Indiana farmer is known for his no-till practices and it is paying off this year.

“When you keep armor over the soil it makes things slow to warm up, so the heat in May helped with that situation. Our crops don’t develop as quickly early, due to no-till, but they are catching up and now getting the advantages of a cooler subsoil,” DeSutter says.

Rain Chances

There looks to be a few rain shots coming this week, for west-central Indiana, and the six- to 10-day forecast has above-normal rainfall amounts in it.

“If you’re going to have dryness, this is the time to have it. We are getting roots down, the crops developing rapidly. As long as we get timely rains, we’re on a record yield pace, with our area’s crop ratings the highest they have been in a long time,” DeSutter says.

Grain Marketing

DeSutter’s farm operation sells his crops to specialized markets, allowing him to not have to worry about the markets on a day-to-day basis.

“I can’t even tell you what the local basis is right now. I’m sure the delivery price might be attractive. Price-wise, I think our prospects are good. You’re starting to see some weather issues in the Black Sea and China.”

Sulfur Is Silver Bullet

Craig Stevens, CERES Solutions’ account relationships manager, says the north-central Indiana crops have had very uniform emergence.

“After the crops got past a defensive mode from 100°F. weather, rain came from a hurricane in Florida,” Stevens says. “Everything has been looking pretty darn good, from the get-go.”

As of this week, USDA rated Indiana’s corn emergence at 89% vs. a 79% five-year average.

Some of the agronomic practices that Indiana farmers have been trying over the years are starting to pay dividends, Stevens says.

“Utilizing sulfur in some form, more than just in starter treatments, is helping even out the crops, as I look across some of these fields,” Stevens says.

“Sulfur seems to be the silver bullet that a lot of farmers are looking for in their corn crop. And, we have started some trials of sulfur on soybeans,” Stevens says.

Whether Indiana’s subsoil moisture is as depleted as first thought, Stevens says he is turning toward farmers’ stories about running sump pumps.

“These sump pumps are 8 feet into the ground and they are still running. Normally, when you are in as dry conditions as we have been in, the sump pumps would not run. Our field tiles are still running. It’s just that upper 8 to 10 inches of soil has dried out pretty quickly,” Stevens says. Evidently there’s some moisture down far enough for those pumps to work.”


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