Wet weather threatens local soybeans

This week’s consistant rain has caused problems for soybeans in Central Ohio.

Local farmer Mike Boerger said a farmer must be optimistic.

“You learn not to worry about things you have no control over,” he said.

However, given the recent flooding and decrease in crop prices, Boerger said all farmers are hoping the precipitation stops in the near future.

With many soybean fields across Ohio already dealing with wet soils from earlier rains, the flooding impact from the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill could leave some growers with diseased crops or facing yield loss.

In fact, if soybean crops at the V2-V3 growth stage are flooded for three days, growers could face a 20 percent yield loss, said Laura Lindsey, a field crops expert in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Boerger said the water standing in low-lying areas on his Rosedale-area property in the northwest corner of the county will be a poison to his soybeans if the rain persists.

“If that stays there, those beans will die,” Boerger said.

If the rain continues, over-saturation of the soil will cause the oxygen to disperse, killing the plants. And it is far too late to re-plant, Boerger noted.

“There is no Plan B,” he said.

Statewide, for the week that ended June 14, soybeans are 95 percent planted and 87 percent emerged, according to the May 26 U.S. Department of Agriculture crop progress report. That compares to soybeans at 92 percent planted at the same time last year, with 78 percent emerged during that same period, the USDA said.

“Widespread heavy rains last week brought most fieldwork to a halt in Ohio,” the federal agency said in a statement. “Heavy rains through the state have brought many concerns for producers.

“Ponding has occurred in low-lying areas, drowning out crops and favoring disease. The muddy, wet fields have prevented producers from being able to spray and fertilize at ideal times causing concerns over disease, pest and weed pressure.”

Boerger said that is if the rain stops in the next three or four days, his crops will probably be alright, aside from the low-lying areas, which do not amount to much space on his property.

“We’ll be in pretty good shape,” he said. “We’re not seeing widespread flooding like in other areas of the country.”

But, no matter what the weather does, Boerger knows not to panic.

“It’s just part of doing business.”

Brandon Semler can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.