116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
With persistent rain and lingering cool temperatures, corn planting in Iowa is 11 days later than last year and nine days behind the five-year average.
Soybeans are nine days behind 2021 and five days behind the five-year average, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reported Monday.
“Despite another cold wet week that slowed fieldwork, planting has begun in some areas of the state,” Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said in a prepared statement. “Looking ahead, short-term temperature outlooks suggest a shift toward much needed warmer weather but, unfortunately, with a wetter storm track.”
Iowa farmers had 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. These early activities include tilling, applying anhydrous ammonia and nitrogen, planting oats and some spraying, the state reported.
Western Iowa has had better luck, with 3.7 possible fieldwork days last week and slightly warmer weather.
The planting delay isn’t a problem yet, said Ed Kordick, farmer education program manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.
“Right now, we’re fine on the calendar,” he said. “We’re still here in early in May. For crop insurance purposes there are some final planning dates - May 31 for corn and June 15 for soybeans. If the delay goes long enough, their crop insurance guarantee starts to go away by those dates.”
Cool soil thwarts seed germination. In some places, farmers may be worried about equipment getting stuck in muddy fields. But when the rain clears and things dry out, many farmers have large equipment that will allow them to plant quickly, Kordick said.
“The big positive we have is farmers are dedicated to get that crop into the ground,” he said. “We just need a nice window to get that done.”
April showers have helped ease drought conditions in Eastern Iowa. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows 15 Eastern Iowa counties, including Linn and Johnson, still are “abnormally dry,” but that dry area shrunk in the most recent weekly report.
Northwest Iowa also is abnormally dry with 15 counties in “moderate drought” and two counties in “severe drought.”
Topsoil moisture condition rated 3 percent very short, 13 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus, the state Agriculture Department reported Monday. Subsoil moisture condition rated 8 percent very short, 22 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.
The forecast for next week looks better, with partly sunny weather Saturday through May 11 and temperatures in the 60s and 70s, according to the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel.
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