So far this spring, 36 percent of Indiana’s corn and 33 percent of the state’s soybeans are already planted according to the USDA. However, west-central Indiana farmer Paul Hodgen says he a lot further along with his planting progress—but that meant taking a gamble on starting back in mid-April.
“It’s not for the faint of heart. If it was easy everyone would do it. That’s why I keep telling myself,” says Hodgen, who farms nearly 6,500 acres in Putnam and Montgomery counties. He’s also President of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council.
Hodgen says when it comes to this year’s planting, he’s not too far from the finish line.
“We are 98% done on soybeans. We have just a little bit left in northern Montgomery County where we just got rained out and the planter is sitting in mud,” according to Hodgen. “We’re back to running corn and are about 60% done. In our area, most people are somewhere between half or done.”
Hodgen says he got an early start during that warm, dry stretch in mid-April. But the colder, wet conditions that followed may mean a replant, in some spots.
“Everything we planted in that window—as far as corn goes—looks pretty good. I have about 60 acres that I’m hoping this next rain comes in and pops enough of them out there so we don’t have to replant,” says Hodgen. “Some of the soybeans are a little jagged. We may have to go back in and replant some of them. If we do, it’s not the first time. When it’s April 15th and it’s warm and sunny out, it’s hard not to go be putting seed in the ground—especially given the past several years where you didn’t even turn a tire in April.”
How does Hodgen feel about planting corn in late May or even early June?
“We joke here on the farm that we’ve never planted June corn—it’s more like ‘May 35th’ or ‘May 36th’, so it just sounds a little bit better,” says Hodgen.
“I’ve had it go both ways. We’ve had some really good corn that was planted in the back half of May, and we’ve had some that wasn’t so good. It really depends on what that late summer weather does. Tell me what the weather is going to be in the fall, and I’ll tell you how good that decision was,” Hodgen says with a chuckle.
Click below to hear C.J. Miller’s radio news report for Hoosier Ag Today.