This Morning: Local farmers faced with fields too wet to plant


Michigan’s corn crop is being planted at the slowest pace on record, that’s according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A progress report of Michigan’s crops show corn planting is well behind where it should be this time of year due to the rain.

Just 24 hours after the last round of seeds went in the dirt, Robert Reese’s field started to look more like a lake.

“It must have rained pretty hard for a while,” says Reese, farmer at Reese Farms in Lansing. 

This isn’t the first time he’s said those words this season.

In fact, almost every day he says he wakes up to find more water on his field.

Putting him planting wise, more than a month behind… and he’s not alone.

“We worked three very long days and got actually about half our corn in during that time frame, and there’s a lot of people who didn’t turn a wheel until June,” says Reese.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there were only 2.2 days suitable in May for planting in Michigan.

New data from June 10th shows, there were 3.5 days in days suitable for fieldwork in Michigan during the week ending June 9, 2019.

Michigan is a state where farmers say corn contributes roughly $2 billion to the economy.

“Every bag plants two and a half acres of corn. So this is all, some is extra inventory, some is what we didn’t get in the ground, and then this does not include starting to get returns from all of my customers,” says Reese as he shows off the extra bags of corn seed in his barn.

The USDA says, this season only 33 percent of the corn had been planted as of early June, that’s compared to the 73% five-year average.

“I’ve talked to some of my friends who have 80 year old grandpas and they’ve never seen a spring like this,” says Reese.

With oversupply having sent prices down in recent years and a trade war with China, it may mean higher prices for consumers when the crop comes to harvest.

For Reese, he says he opted in for crop insurance, something he picked in early March before the season really began.. so he hopes and prays his crops will make it through to fall.

“It’ll be interesting this fall to see how many crops are there to sell. Will we have a shortage, will there be enough. Prices could go up in the fall. You don’t know at this point,” says Reese.

Reese says he has about 1/3 of soybeans left to plant but because of the weather, they probably won’t make it in the ground… although he’s staying hopeful.

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