Just how soon after a long, difficult Indiana winter will farmers be able to get to the fields for planting? It depends on what part of the state and many weather and field variables, but many are hopeful about getting started soon, like Joe Steinkamp who farms in Evansville.
“Everything is drying up. We’re shaping up. In 2012 we planted the earliest we’ve ever planted, April 4th on river bottoms, and this year we’re getting ready to lay tile in some of those same fields because it’s shaping up. In the last couple days I’ve seen people pre-planting anhydrous ammonia, so things are moving forward in southern Indiana.”
He farms river bottom grounds in Vanderburgh County and never knows if planting will start by the 15th of April or the 15th of June. He said signs do look good this year for a possible mid-April start.
But it won’t be an early start in Jasper County for Kendall Culp.
“Things could change pretty quickly obviously, but I don’t look for this to be an early spring. We’re probably 30 days away from planting. The soil is awfully cold.”
He told HAT that soil moisture levels are good and tiles are running, but soils that tend to be wet are very wet right now.
“This spring we’re looking at I think a later than average start. We’ve been spoiled the last couple of years so it’s hard to say what average is anymore. But I think we’ll be able to do some ground work ahead of time but we really need to be patient waiting for the ground temperatures to come up. Just because the ground is dry doesn’t mean it’s time to plant.”
And David Etherington near Kokomo says weather forecasts that include rain and no significant warm-up tell him planting is still further down the road, but he is still optimistic.
“Snow melt was slow enough and the rains have been small enough that our ground is not saturated, so I think we may dry up quicker than what we expected. We’ve got a lot of ground temperature to get back but that happens sometimes faster than what we think it will.”