Bill Pickart is practicing for his role as crop progress reporter in north-central Indiana. The retired farmer and seed rep remains active in the farm community in Carroll County, and has his pulse on not only what is happening weather-wise, but what farmers are thinking and how they are feeling as the crop season unfolds. He has "been there, done that" many times.
Pickart will be one of six field reporters providing information for a new web feature beginning here officially on Friday, May 3. Called Friday Field Walk, it will feature reports from six individuals, two each in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Jennifer Vincent, editor of Michigan Farmer, will coordinate the report.
The goal is to help you get a better handle for what's happening in other parts of the Eastern Corn Belt, not just in your back yard. Hopefully this will help you make more informed decisions about crop marketing and other farm planning decisions.
Pickart spent the third week of April watching it continue to rain. It was somewhat a copy of the week before. His farm received 4 inches of rain beginning the week of April 8 through that week. Last week he had recorded over an inch of new rain by mid-week.
Jim Facemire, another reporter for the project, lives in south-central Indiana near Edinburgh. His rain gauge, and many gauges south of Indianapolis, recorded more like an inch the week of April 8, with a few places getting more, but he also got plentiful rain last week. His amounts were more on par with Pickart through mid-week last week. While he was ready to hit the field, he has actually done little yet in the way of field work.
"The soils two weeks ago were dry and we were worried about subsoil moisture recharge," Pickart says. "Now they're soggy and we're wondering when planters will get in. It's looking like a late spring in our area as far as field work is concerned."