Wet weather forces farmers up against tight planting deadline


CELINA, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley farmers fear they’re running out of time to plant corn and soybean crops.

An unusually wet fall and spring have only allowed Mercer County Matt Vantilburg to seed roughly 75 of his 4,500 acres.

“Normally we’re done by this time of year; we’re spraying a putting nitrogen on and caring for a corn crop… not worried about getting it planted,” Vantilburg said.

Vantilburg Farms is located just outside of Celina, several miles from the path of a deadly Memorial Day tornado. The farm avoided damage from the storm, but most of the fields are too wet to drive machinery or begin planting corn and soybeans.

“As we get later, that growing season gets shorter and shorter. You do literally run out of time,” Vantilburg said.

According to a USDA crop progress report released on June 3rd, much of Ohio and the Midwest are experiencing similar challenges.

As of June 2, 2019, Ohio farmers have planted 33 percent of the state’s corn and 18 percent of its soybeans. At the same time in 2018, they had planted 89 percent of their corn and 79 percent of their soybeans.

Vantilburg explained soybeans can be planted later, but many farmers are forced to take a loss if they don’t plant their corn by June 10th.

He said struggling corn crops would likely affect prices for corn-based products like animal feed, ethanol and even foods that include corn syrup. He also expects local economies to experience the effects of farmers unable to spend as much money.

“When the farm community [is] suffering, the rest of the county and the rest of the population will feel the ripple effect of that, too,” Vantilburg said.

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