Pennsylvania and Ohio grain farmers have both gotten a lot of rain this spring, but their experiences have been very different.

Richard Burkhart is stunned with how well his corn is performing.

He’s not sure whether to credit the seed or the weather, but the recent warm conditions have certainly helped.

Emergence this spring was the “best we ever had,” the Mohnton, Pennsylvania, farmer said.

That can’t be said of Darke County, Ohio, where almost 20% of corn and soybean acres might not even get planted this year because of persistent rain.

“For the vast majority of our acres, we look like it is May 10” instead of late June, said Sam Custer, an Ohio State University Extension educator in Darke County, which is northwest of Dayton.

Farmers across the Midwest have faced flooding and waterlogged soils this spring that made planting difficult.

Last year, farmers in west-central Ohio planted most of their crop in two weeks in early May.

This year, farmers’ best window was in early June, though some farmers mudded in their crops earlier.

“It has been rare for us to have more than two days without precipitation this planting season,” Custer said.

Corn that’s at the V2 stage is pretty far along for this year, he said.

In Chester County, Pennsylvania, meanwhile, Josh Beam has seen many fields where the corn is 5 feet high.

Some low-lying corn stands show signs of water damage, but in general, “we are a little ahead of last year,” said Beam, the assistant to a Pioneer seed rep.

Fields are also looking good in neighboring Lancaster County, in part because slug damage and mold is much less common than it was last year, said Jeff Graybill, a Penn State Extension educator.

Many farmers planted two weeks later than average, but Graybill figures that too much rain is better than not enough.

“We need about 1 inch of rain every so often for optimum growth,” he said.

Special Sections Editor

Courtney Love is Special Sections Editor at Lancaster Farming. She can be reached at 717-721-4426 or