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Indiana Farmers Get Busy Planting During Break in Weather

24 May 2013

US - Indiana farmers who had to wait through a month of seemingly never-ending rain that kept them out of their fields are now getting caught up in planting their crops.

Clearing skies and warming temperatures since early May have enabled farmers to plant 64 per cent of the corn crop as of the week ending May 19, the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service said. That is near the average of 65 per cent over the last five years.

Frequent and heavy rains had prevented most farmers from working in their soggy and flooded fields in April and into the first week of May, leaving them weeks behind schedule during the spring planting season.

But they eventually got the break they needed, with May rainfall in Indiana so far averaging 1.9 inches, 30 per cent less than normal. April rainfall, by comparison, averaged near 6.5 inches, about 70 per cent more than normal.

Warmer-than-normal temperatures with near-normal rainfall is expected through the remainder of May.

"This should help farmers to finally reach the planting finish line after a slow start," said Ken Scheeringa, associate state climatologist, based at Purdue University.

There has been a wide variation in May rainfall across the state the past three weeks. Northern Indiana received just a third of normal, with about 0.7 inch, while southern Indiana averaged close to 3.3 inches - about normal.

Most of the corn acreage last week was planted across the northern and some central Indiana counties, the NASS said. Soils remained too wet in southern counties to allow much progress.

By area, 84 per cent of the corn acreage so far had been planted in northern Indiana, 59 per cent in the central portion of the state and 36 per cent in the south.

Plants in 20 per cent of Indiana's corn acreage had emerged, compared with 44 per cent for the five-year average.

For soybeans, 30 per cent of the crop had been planted, compared with the five-year average of 36 per cent. Soybeans typically are planted after corn.

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