Farmers' tough year continues with heavy rains, muddy fields

Eight inches of rain have fallen on central Indiana this month, nearing a 100-year high.
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From last summer's record drought, to fields too muddy to plant right now, central Indiana farmers have endured a tough year.

No crops have been planted yet at Kelsay Farms in Johnson County. The fields are simply too full of water. Some areas look like lakes instead of farm fields.

"Probably, in the center, it's probably a couple feet deep," Kelsay Farms' owner Merrill Kelsay said. "We already had planted most of the corn last year and now...nothing."

Heavy rain that flooded homes and businesses is causing problems for local farmers, too.

We've received well over eight inches in less than a month, which is nearing a 100-year record. That rain, coupled with the cold temperatures, could shorten yields of corn and feed for Kelsay's livestock.

This is actually a problem all across the Midwest.

In fact, this week, the USDA reports only 2 percent of the country's corn crop has been planted. Last year at this time, they had 16 percent in the ground.

"A lot of days will go by and you wonder why people aren't doing something, but the ground has to dry out before you can plant. You can't plant in mud," Kelsay said.

Farmers faced the opposite problem last year - severe damage from a record drought. Kelsay lost about half of his crops in the dry heat last summer. The effects of that drought are still lingering in the cattle barn, where Kelsay has been forced to get creative to stretch the feed left over.

He says extreme weather, from no rain, to too much of it, has been tough.

"It's probably been 3-4 years since we've had a normal, what I would call a normal, crop," he said.

Even with flooded fields, farmers and agricultural experts say it's not time to panic just yet. They still have time to make up for the delay.

But Kelsay says that also means farmers will be playing catch-up all summer.

"Everything's gonna come at once. We're going to have to do a lot in a 2-3 week period of time," he said.

Now farmers just hope for a warm and dry month of May.