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FARMING IN THE VALLEY A little on the dry side



Published: Tue, July 17, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Most crops are growing well and are disease free.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

LISBON -- Area farmers are making hay while the sun shines, but rain is needed for other crops, says Ernie Oelker, Columbiana County extension agent.

Although he said weather, crop growth and yields vary in different areas, Oelker said that in recent travels through Columbiana and Mahoning counties, he has found most crops are growing well and are disease free. Area crops need rain, however, especially corn.

Progress: Oelker said this year's wheat crop appears to be an improvement over last year's, when yields were reduced significantly by disease. Farmers have reported yields as high as 80 bushels per acre.

He said farmers started harvesting wheat in the last two weeks, but there is still much combining to be done.

Corn is growing well, but moisture and higher temperatures are needed now for the plants to pollinate properly, Oelker said.

Last week's temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s were ideal -- but too early -- for corn pollination, he said, adding that a combination of rain and last week's temperatures would be ideal now for corn.

Soybeans in some areas are starting to bloom, Oelker added. Farmers are controlling weeds well in the soybean fields, and Oelker said he has only seen bean leaf beetles in a few areas.

Oelker said he has been checking plants for soybean aphids, but has not found any here yet.

The insects are a problem for soybean growers in Wood and Wayne counties, he said.




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