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Current weather patterns impacting local farming plans

We can’t escape the rain. Lately, Michiana hasn’t gotten many dry days in between showers. When it seems like a good time for farmers to begin planting, it rains again! So how is this affecting farmer’s crops across Michiana? It’s delaying the planting process already.

Not by a whole lot, but we’re within days of the time farmers and markets should begin paying close attention to.

Jeff Burbrink with the Purdue Agriculture Extension in Elkhart County says after it rains, farmers tend to allow a few days for the soil to dry out before planting. But lately there hasn’t been enough time in between for farmers to plant.

Burbrink says the ideal situation is to have about 10 days of good weather allowing soil to dry out and that’s when we’ll start seeing a lot of crops planted very quickly. He says if this pattern keeps up though, that’s puts farmers behind and that affects their bottom line.

“If we were to write a prescription of what we want it would be maybe for the next 10 days or two weeks, to allow the soils to dry then get out and plant. With the way folks are equipped these days we can get a lot of acres planted very quickly,” said Burbrink.

Burbrink says there’s a major economic impact once planting is critically affected; that when you have delayed planting, farmers lose about one bushel of corn per acre per day which could be really bad news for farmers.

“If you have a fellow that has 1000 acres, they are losing about 1000 bushels a day, and at five dollars a bushel, that's $5000 a day they're losing. So you try to put that in a monetary perspective it can add up over time,” said Burbrink.

Burbrink says planting is delayed slightly from where we are normally this time of year but we haven’t reached the level of crisis just yet. He says around May 10th is the time farmers and farmer’s markets should start paying close attention to the weather in relation to their farming plans.

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