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More weather woes for farmers: ‘There will be a lot of acres not planted’

By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
June 04, 2019, 12:17:57 PM EDT

Farm equipment in field

"It’s like we are trying to plant on top of a lake!" wrote Nebraska farmer Ed Brummels in a Twitter post. (Photo courtesy of Ed Brummels)


How best to describe the situation faced by U.S. farmers after continued rain and flooding?

“It’s like we are trying to plant on top of a lake!” wrote Nebraska farmer Ed Brummels in a recent Twitter post.

The situation does not look to improve for farmers in the U.S. Corn Belt. AccuWeather is predicting the pattern of rounds of showers and thunderstorms to continue, with storms over part of the flood-stricken areas into midweek. Also, the southern half of the Corn Belt is in the path of downpours expected later this week.

"If you’re along the Ohio River and you don’t have your corn planted by Wednesday, you may not plant anything additional because you may get three inches of rain between Thursday and Saturday," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

Corn and soybean planting remain well off pace, according to Monday’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crop Progress compared to the average from 2014-18.

The Crop Progress indicated just 67% of corn was planted in 18 key corn-producing states. The 2014-18 average for corn planted by June 2nd is 96%, so planting is off 30.2% in comparison.

Corn planting has been at an all-time low percentage for the last three reports and remains behind schedule in 17 of the 18 states monitored.

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Soybean planting is behind in 16 of the 18 key soybean-producing states, according to the report. So far, just 39% of soybean planting has taken place, compared to the five-year average of 79% by June 2nd, meaning soybean planting is off 50.6%.

AccuWeather predicts yields below the USDA estimates for corn (9% lower) and soybeans (4% lower) for the year because of extended wet conditions in key corn- and soybean-producing states.

“Worst year I can remember [locally] -- we are still trying to get corn (90% done) and beans (65% done),” Nebraska’s Ed Brummels wrote in an email to AccuWeather, having been in the agriculture industry since 1981. “It gets worse as you go north and east of me in Nebraska. South Dakota is a disaster … I do remember 1983 was bad -- but not sure if it was this bad," he added. "There will be a lot of acres not planted.”

Many U.S. farmers face an impending decision regarding their planting plans. Historical data shows that corn yield could drop roughly 22% if corn is planted on or beyond June 4.

“I think there will be very little corn planted after this week,” said AccuWeather's Jason Nicholls. “I wouldn’t say zero, but it’s relatively minor. This is the week they have to get the corn planted but the weather just doesn’t look that great.”

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Farmers can file for Prevented Planting insurance coverage to cover a percentage of the loss of crops. Also, President Trump recently announced a $16 billion farm aid package to offset possible losses from the U.S-China trade situation.

“It’s probably the most complicated decision season I’ve ever seen,” Wallace Tyner, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, told The New York Times.

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