Local farmers move ahead after replanting crops

A farmer plants crops north of Palmyra, Mo. on Tuesday. Most area farmers are finishing replanting corn, after cooler conditions and heavy rain affected the crops at the early part of the planting season.

HANNIBAL — Local farmers are reaching the final stages for replanting crops like corn, after the early part of the season brought cooler temperatures and excessive moisture levels.

Mark Lehenbauer, who operates a farm near Hannibal, was finishing replanting corn on Tuesday, as well as getting soybeans in the ground. Recent rain showers were very spotty, with area farms receiving anywhere from zero to two inches depending on location. Marion County Farm Bureau President and fellow farmer Joe Kendrick said he replanted 80% of his corn crop, and Palmyra farmer Kenny Lovelace said the corn had been replanted on the land he rents to his daughter.

Lovelace said the level of replanting was the most he had seen in several years. Kendrick said there was a concentrated area in Northeast Missouri where corn planted between May 10 and May 15 wasn’t producing strong enough stands.

“We got finished early, and thought we were done back in the middle of May,” Kendrick said.

Lehenbauer said he was on “the downhill stretch” on soybeans, with planting expected to be complete in the next few days. As Lovelace traveled to Jefferson City, Mo. for a Missouri Soil and Water Conservation Board meeting, he noticed three fields north of Palmyra, Mo. with strong stands, a good sign the second planting was more successful. He also saw a field with soybeans standing three to four inches tall, and corn which had taken on a deep green color from the anhydrous ammonia fertilizer.

Lovelace said larger, more efficient equipment and technological improvements — including GPS guidance, soil tests and air-conditioned tractors — bring more productivity while helping to encourage more young farmers to join the industry.

Markets are very strong right now for grain, Kendrick said. Some countries have faced dry conditions, increasing their need to import American crops. Kendrick was working on baling hay on his farm, and he said area farmers would be preparing for wheat harvest in the coming weeks.

Kendrick said for the most part, farmers were wrapping up their replanting efforts throughout the area. And they remain optimistic for a good season ahead.

“We plant for success, but it depends on what Mother Nature offers us,” Kendrick said.

The summer is forecast to be dry, and timely rains are key for strong yields. Kendrick said the improving situation surrounding COVID-19 has allowed for more traveling opportunities and other tasks as the crops grow.

“The big word is, I guess I’m optimistic that it’s going to work,” Lovelace said. “I believe it will be alright, I hope.”

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