By Nancy Allen
Some farmers in Mercer County will have to replant the corn and soybean crops, planted during a warm spell a month ago and later destroyed by cold, wet weather.
Mercer County OSU Extension Agent Todd Mangen said Friday he is telling producers to be patient for a few more days until they know whether or not the plants will come up.
"I talked to some today who said they would have to replant a majority of what they planted early," Mangen said. "Those I talked to planted mostly corn and some beans."
During a warm snap about four weeks ago, some farmers took advantage of the weather to plant corn and soybeans. But temperatures turned cold, rainy and snow even fell on April 23 and 24. This made the soil too cool to cause seed germination and the additional moisture then made the seeds rot, Mangen said.
Replanting could be a costly venture for some, even though they have crop insurance. While crop insurance will help defray the cost of replanting corn for those producers who have insurance, those who planted beans may not be so lucky. "There are replanting provisions that would apply to corn planted after April 5," said Mercer County Farm Service Agency Executive Director Chris Gibbs. "Unfortunately for those who planted soybeans prior to April 21 and were insured, those beans are not covered for replanting."
Gibbs said currently there are no federal disaster funds to help farmers with losses that occurred or may yet occur this year. The USDA currently is administering 2003 and 2004 crop year federal disaster aid funds for losses that occurred during those years.
The cost of seed may only be the tip of the loss iceberg. There is also herbicide, fuel and time put in by the producers, Mangen said.
"It's definitely not good," he said. "It's a lot of inputs and unfortunately when you have to replant, you lose all those inputs."
Mercer County grain farmer Mark Houts, who farms about 1,500 acres in Hopewell, Liberty and Center townships, said he might have to replant some corn. He said he knows of some farmers who already have replanted a whole "field or two or parts of fields."
"We haven't replanted yet," Houts said Friday. "We are hoping for a warm rain tonight (Friday) to loosen up the soil crust and let the plants come up."
Local seed dealers are getting busy again with farmers coming in to buy more seed. Eldon Sell, manager at the Mercer Landmark in Chattanooga, said this is the worst replanting episode he has seen in the 20 years he has been in the business.
"Some producers said they will replant 100 percent of everything, others are saying two to three fields and others say they will spot it in," Sell said. "We'll be busy awhile, but we should be able to supply the seed."