Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- After enjoying weeks of ideal weather that boosted planting at a record pace, some Indiana farmers are now weighing whether to replant fields stung by a series of late spring frosts.

Corn and soybeans have suffered mostly cosmetic damage from the recent frosts, but some fields were hard-hit enough to require replanting, said Bob Nielsen, a Purdue University agronomist and corn specialist.

Tender young plants in north-central and northeastern Indiana have seen the most damage during the past few weeks from nights when readings fell into the upper 20s and lower 30s.

Nielsen said many farmers will likely decide it's not worth replanting this late in the planting season.

"There are some fields here and there that got nipped pretty good," he said, "but I suspect most people will choose not to replant."

Soybean plants are susceptible to frost damage because their points of growth are all above ground, exposing them to cold nighttime readings. Young corn plants grow from a portion of the stem that's below ground and are insulated from frosts, Nielsen said.

He said the recent frosts are somewhat late, but of more concern is the cool, wet weather that has slowed planting to a crawl after April's long stretch of sunny, warm weather.

Planting proceeded at a record pace last month as the state's farmers saw the best planting weather since 2004.

Nielsen said the current cool, wet conditions have made seeds already in the ground susceptible to disease and insect pests.

Despite the recent weather setbacks, Nielsen said this year's crop "looks pretty good" -- better than the past two years, when rainy spring weather caused long planting delays.

Monday's crop report from Purdue University said 86 percent of Indiana's corn crop and 46 percent of its soybeans crop had been planted as of Sunday.

That report said a limited amount of acreage will need replanting due to frost damage, as will fields flooded by heavy rains and those where newly germinated plants have been harmed by the cool, wet weather.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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