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Soaked fields hamper soybean planting season

Wet fields surrounded this tractor and implement west of Egypt Road near the Highway 210 railroad bridge. Estimates for Ray County’s unplanted soybeans range from 20 percent to 50 percent. (Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

Wet fields surrounded this tractor and implement west of Egypt Road near the Highway 210 railroad bridge. Estimates for Ray County’s unplanted soybeans range from 20 percent to 50 percent. (Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

By David Knopf/News Editor

The 2015 growing season has been so wet that even in late July more than a few Ray County fields lay barren where soybeans should’ve been.

Orrick-area farmer Tom Waters intended to grow more beans this year, but even with the unofficial planting deadline approaching, his fields were so wet that only 50 percent had been seeded.

“We got all the corn in and the soybeans, just a little more than half,” he said, a week or so before July 15, a date many farmers see as do-or-die for getting beans in the ground. “I don’t know if we’ll get more in. The clock’s ticking. The calendar’s turning.”

Dale Vandiver, who also farms in the Orrick area but north and east of Waters, said early last week that even after a spell of dry weather his fields were still too wet for planting.

The mid-July cutoff late – some farmers may push the planting deadline back a week, even two – isn’t arbitrary. It’s based on the loss of sunlight toward the end of the growing cycle, a time when soybeans need the light to turn color, drop leaves and expose developed pods for harvest.

The complete story is in the Monday, July 20, 2015 Richmond News.

Click here for our E-edition and read the rest of the story.

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