Area producers just can't catch a break.
Following heavy rains over the past weekend, some are preparing to plant soybean crops for the third time this season.
"In some cases, they planted just ahead of the big rain a few weeks back, said David Meneely, executive director of the Livingston County Farm Service Agency. "The crops didn't come up right, so they've replanted just ahead of this particular rain. I'd say there are some who will wind up planting a third time."
Meneely said last year's yields were negatively affected by unusually dry conditions in the summer. He said the anticipation was that northern Missouri would experience another dry summer, but, so far, those anticipations have turned out not to be true.
Meneely said studies suggested May 10 was the optimal date for planting corn. The wet start to the summer combined with the snowfall in the first week of May has caused many producers to give up on corn production this season.
"The early corn planting was affected by weather — cold and wet in places," Meneely said. "May 10 was the optimal date for planting. People missed some of those dates. Corn was replanted in some cases, but the calendar got late enough that people kind of gave up on that one."
Some producers in the area plant soybeans after harvesting winter wheat in mid-June. Meneely said the wet weather has delayed wheat harvest, which, in turn, has delayed soybean planting.
"We do plant quite a few double-crop soybeans after wheat," Meneely said. "The wheat's late this year. The harvest may be later because of the moisture, if we don't dry out, so those double crop beans are going to go in late, too."
Rainfall totals for 2013 are already eight inches above normal. Meneely said that makes things difficult in Livingston County where a large percentage of farmland is bottom land.
"It's hard to say how many people are affected, but 40 percent is bottom land," Meneely explained. "Naturally, they're going to catch more water than the hills. Even on the hills, we've had a lot of dirt movement from these real hard rains. It has either covered up the seed, or, in some cases, it has just beat the ground and formed a crust the seeds can't get through."
Recent wet conditions have also delayed hay production. Meneely said hay producers are waiting for a small window of opportunity that Mother Nature has yet to provide.
"They need some dry days in between the rain," Meneely said. "If they could get a three-day window and the ground wasn't wet, they could get hay put up pretty fast. We're having troubles getting three days of sunshine."
Once a window of opportunity arrives, Meneely said the worry then shifts to whether the area will receive the right combination of moisture and sunshine to produce good yields.
Page 2 of 2 - "It sometimes happens that the rain will shut off here at the the end of June," Meneely explained. "Then, you go through July and August dry. With everything late and everything put in kind of poorly, we need good weather to keep it going. We need some of those showers to keep going through July and August."