Looking For The Panic Button

I talked recently with an area ag official about the lack of planting progress in his neck of the woods. As he put it, “Nobody’s pushing the panic button.” Then, after the slightest of pauses, he added drolly,  “Of course, a few guys might be starting to look for it.”

He was joking, but not entirely so. The late, wet spring has delayed planting across much of the Upper Midwest and caused legitimate, but not overpowering concern. There’s still plenty of time to catch up, provided the weather starts to cooperate.

Yeah, most farms are bigger; producers have more acres to plant. But modern equipment is a lot bigger, too. On balance, this year’s crop can be planted in a shorter window of opportunity than ever  — if the weather cooperates.

Rapid planting in a short window isn’t fun or easy. Nor is it efficient: it usually requires shifting among crops, to take best advantage of fields dry enough to plant, and that means switching seed and fertilizer in planting equipment, an annoying, time-consuming process.

Regardless, two weeks of good weather would be wonderful. If we don’t get it, though, a lot of guys might be starting to look for the panic button.