Goshen News, Goshen, IN


April 16, 2014

Spring planting starts slow

Wet, chilly soil a factor


At least not yet, as Whipple waits for spring to stop acting like winter. With a fresh batch of snow on his roughly 800 acres of farmland near Utica in LaSalle County, he spent Tuesday hauling stored grain to a barge and felt productive.

"I can't be in the field, so this is a good job to get done while waiting," he said, though he admitted he's "starting to get a little frustrated." He guessed it will be another week before he can begin planting corn. "We just haven't had that week or two of good weather, and there's a lot of work to be done."

But he said he has resisted the urge to rush in a crop when the soil is marginal, saying "you only get one shot at this."

Near Missouri's Warrenton, west of St. Louis, Keith Witt said only one or two local farmers have any corn planted — for bragging rights, if anything. But with 3,500 acres soaked by six inches of rain over the past 10 days or so, Witt guesses he'll have to wait until the end of next week to start planting.

Expectations of more rain within days soured any hope of getting in the fields now to plant half of his acreage with corn, then the other half later with beans.

"It's hard to find something to do, realizing you want to be out there and getting it done but can't," said Witt, a former Missouri Corn Growers Association president. "But we still have plenty of time. Last year (with the delayed sowing), we planted everything in four days. So what difference does it make?"

Back in central Illinois, near Auburn, Garry Niemeyer feels lucky. Simply to test his equipment, the 65-year-old farmer has sown 100 of the roughly 1,200 acres he'll devote to corn this year.

The reason: His turf has been relatively dry, though that may change with the considerable chance for rain by Friday.

"I know there's nervous tension, but you have to go with the weather cards you're dealt," he said.

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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