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Corn farmers across Iowa, Midwest face tough decisions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says only 74 percent of the nation's corn plants have emerged after a soggy spring left many farmers behind schedule.
By DAVID PITT Published: June 5, 2013

Corn farmers who choose to plant unfinished fields or go back and replant this late will see a sizable reduction in the grain they harvest this fall, said Roger Elmore, an Iowa State University agronomy professor and a corn specialist.

In central Illinois, John Olsson finds himself woefully behind in planting his 700 acres of corn, figuring he's about 70 percent done. Last year at this time, he was already on to planting 600 acres of soybeans.

The corn he has in the ground looks good, but he worries that several acres of seed may have been washed away. He's debating whether to replant it.

“It's more important to me to get the remaining areas planted that are waterlogged than patching in a poor stand on a few acres,” Olsson, 51, said from his farm near New Berlin.

Elmore said some may switch to a corn variety that matures more quickly to avoid running up against the first fall frost.

But in the wettest fields, insurance payments may be the best option, he said.