Wet weather delays planting for Ohio farmers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A cold, wet spring has delayed planting for some Ohio farmers, but they're not worried yet.

Spring-Planting Sidd

FILE - In this April 15, 2014 file photo, central Illinois corn and soybean farmer Garry Niemeyer inspects the soil temperature and the sprouting of corn seeds he planted earlier as a test in Auburn, Ill. Many central Illinois farmer still hadn't begun the annual ritual on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, because fields simply are too wet or too cold to be receptive to fragile seeds. It's a scenario playing out across much of the nation's corn belt, where efforts by farmers to get their crops in the ground still are sputtering _ similar to last year, when one of the wettest springs on record got farmers in many states off to the slowest start in decades. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

The same thing happened last year, and it turned out to be a great season for crops.

Through last Sunday, only 8 percent of the corn had been planted in Ohio, down from the five-year average of 25 percent at that point, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Only 3 percent of soybeans had been planted, below the five-year average of 12 percent.

Joe Cornely, spokesman for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, told The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1hCh3OT ) that "farmers are anxious, but they are far from panicking."

"Farmers will tell you that the earlier start you get to the cropping season, the better," Cornely said.

He said the rule of thumb is that farmers like to have corn planted by mid-May, followed quickly by beans.

David Black, who farms 2,400 acres in central Ohio, said he got a slow start last year, too, and it turned out OK.

"We've got plenty of time," he said. "Last year, we planted until the middle of May, corn and beans, and we had fantastic crops."

Planting at the optimum time is important to producing a robust crop. If the weather stays warm and dry, as it has been this week, farmers can make up for lost time quickly with today's powerful farming equipment and technology, experts say.

With good conditions, farmers might be able to get as much as half of the state's corn crop planted in a week or so, said Peter Thomison, an Ohio State University Extension corn specialist.

As is often the case in Ohio, conditions vary considerably across the state.