Even though the recent cold, wet weather has kept many Hoosier farmers from getting their spring planting underway, some have already been able to start getting seed in the ground.
“Every year is different and as long as you can lock in a profit and know you’re going to be able to be here next year, that’s what matters,” says Austin Henderson, who farms with his family at M&K Henderson Family Farm near Sharpsville in Tipton County. He also owns Henderson Ag Advantage, an ag supply company which is also based in Tipton County.
Henderson says there have some windows of opportunity so far this spring to get some soybeans planted.
“We farm about 1,100 acres and we have roughly one-third of our beans in the ground,” according to Henderson. “We haven’t planted any corn just because of the environmental factors. This cold, wet weather has not looked great for corn planting, but beans are pretty hearty, so that’s what we’ve been focusing on.”
Henderson says he’s not surprised to hear that nine percent of Indiana’s corn and eight percent of the state’s soybeans are already planted so far, according to the most recent USDA Crop Progress Report.
“That seems relatively normal,” says Henderson. “My in-laws are down around Salem in southern Indiana, and I know they’ve been able to plant quite a bit, so it doesn’t seem too far off to me. Locally, I would guess maybe 20 to 25% of the soybeans are in the ground—and maybe 10 to 15% of the corn is planted.”
He says one thing that has helped the family farm’s balance sheet this spring is having to pay considerably less for inputs.
“Nitrogen fertilizer is probably about half the cost of last year at a per-acre amount,” according to Henderson. “Herbicides have softened for the most part. Diesel fuel is a lot cheaper as well, so that does help. Unfortunately, we’ve lost some value in the futures market, but hopefully that’ll come back.”
Henderson adds that patience is important when it comes to the weather cooperating with planting season.
“Mother Nature always bats last—we can make all these plans and do all this work and then she always has the upper hand and she gets her turn,” says Henderson. “There’s not much we can do except try to be patient and when the conditions are fit, then we’ll get back at it.”
Click below to hear C.J. Miller’s news report and interview with Tipton County farmer Austin Henderson with M&K Henderson Family Farm and owner of Henderson Ag Advantage.