One observer officially declared that the drought was over recently – at least in Indiana. But that's likely true. Some areas to the west in the Corn Belt still aren't as blessed with rain as Indiana at this point, and the drought is very much alive.
Mark Lawson, Danville, a farmer and Technical agronomist for Syngenta, says he recorded 7 inches during the second and third weeks of April. That's well above normal for the month in his area.
However, he still isn't ready to say that corn planting will be late. Yields don't start declining according to historical data until after May 10, and then the reduction is slow. It picks up after May 15 and on average, grows much stronger in late May and early June.
Last year late-planted corn tended to excel if the field received rain in August. However, it was more about pollination timing than anything else. Last year was not normal to say the least.
At this point, Lawson intends to put out various test plots on his farm. He will be trying Syngenta's latest drought-tolerant corn. Last year it held on longer than other corn, but finally succumbed because the drought and heat was so overwhelming.
Bill Pickart in Carroll County says that after getting 8 inches of rain in two weeks in his area, nearly every field had standing water somewhere. On April 19, school was even delayed due to flooded roads. He gave up on planting corn in April at that point.
"The only way it will get planted in April is if someone plants using a boat," he quipped. Pickart will be one of the reporters who will tell you what's happening in their area on Friday Field Walk here on the Web every other Friday beginning this week, on May 3. The other Indiana reporter is Jim Facemire, Edinburgh.
They will be joined by two reporters from Ohio and two from Michigan. Look for that report later this week.