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Stark County

Gary Steward

Gary Steward of Toulon Il., grows corn and soybeans, and custom farms with his son, David.


We finally dried out enough to get back to planting beans Saturday afternoon (May 13). We had only .5 of an inch of rain last Wednesday, but Thursday was cloudy and cool all day. We planted beans all weekend and continued into the early days of the week. Monday (May 15) was a perfect weather day. Highs in low 80s, few clouds and not too windy. We continued planting beans Wednesday until isolated storms started blowing through. We put the planter in the shed and took cover. The storms left 2 inches of rain just west of us, but eastern Stark County stayed dry. Thursday was a perfect day for anything. We're nearly finished with beans, as are most farmers in the county. Most of the area corn has emerged and looks pretty good. Why did we worry? No one in the commodity trades did.


We finally dried out enough that field activity started back up Saturday (May 6). We sprayed bean ground until it was fit to plant Monday (May 8). We finished corn Tuesday and changed the planter to soybean mode. I'd say the majority of Stark County is also finished with corn the first time. Some corn planted April 15 has been rotary hoed, and some will be replanted after the rain system went through Wednesday night. We received a little more than .5 of an inch, so fieldwork came to a halt. Hopefully, this .5 of an inch will allow more corn to push through the crust and emerge. That would help a lot of us feel better about our stands and our decision to not rotary hoe.


A week of worry. What to say about a lost week with pretty much nothing accomplished toward finishing planting. A week of cold and rain, and worry. How much effect will the cold rain have on emergence, population stand and yield down the road? When will we get back to planting? Will we need to replant? These worries are why you need to be an optimist to farm. The sun reappeared Monday morning (May 1) and we started to dry out, but it didn't last long. Mowing the yard is about all we could do through Thursday. The forecast says sunny next week, so we'll see what happens. We'll spray bean ground first, then try to plant when it dries out. We have 300 acres of corn to finish then on to soybeans.


Last Friday (April 21), the sun came out late morning and corn planters came alive. Nearly everyone was in the field Saturday spraying, working ground or planting. We planted through Tuesday night and are about 80 percent done. Wednesday morning, a nice, .3 of an inch of rain came through, and everything came to a halt. Everyone needed a rest anyway. We received another .5 of an inch Thursday morning, so we won't get back to planting for a week if the rains come as predicted Saturday and Sunday. Rest up, catch up with maintenance and spend time with family.