Nebraska Field Reports: Planting Between and After the Rains

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    Paul Hay, Extension Educator in Gage County: We’re seeing some frost damage to corn tip leaves and minor wireworm damage in corn. Some soybean stands are uneven, slow growing, and causing concern for growers. Alfalfa growers should be scouting field, particularly spring-seeded fields for potential leafhopper damage.

    Nathan Mueller, Extension Educator in Dodge and Washington Counties: During the May 17 crop tour, I covered 175 miles and the nine major soil regions of Dodge and Washington counties. Past planting dates this spring for corn have been April 13-17, April 24, May 5-8, and May 14-15. Corn planted prior to April 18 is at the V2 to V3 growth stage. This early planted corn had some issues with chilling injury, crusting, ponding, and seedling damping off (Figure 1) that negatively impacted plant populations. Quite a few acres of corn and some soybeans were planted May 5-8 and are now emerging.

    Some light cutworm activity and early season phosphorus deficiency in corn was observed. As for soybeans, only a few fields can be rowed from the road. I did see bean leaf beetles in uncut alfalfa fields that will be moving to emerging soybean fields. Alfalfa is just starting to bloom and first cutting is underway. Most of the corn acres (80%) have been planted, but a significant portion of the soybean crop needs to be planted. Good soybean planting progress has been made over the past few days and good progress will be made this weekend. To read the full crop tour report with 25 pictures, visit Crop Tech Cafe.

    Michael Rethwisch, Extension Educator in Butler County: Last Tuesday (May 10) we got over 2 inches of rain in the western portion of the county and over 4 inches in the eastern half. Planting resumed after a couple days in the western half. Pastures are looking very good. There is some yellow corn.

    John Wilson, Extension Educator in Burt County: About 75-80% of the corn is in and while it’s a little behind normal, it’s catching up. Of the early planted corn, what’s not drowned is looking pretty good. From April 17 to May 16 we got over 12 inches of rain. There may be as much as 10% replant in the Missouri River bottom and as much as a third of that may not even be replanted this season because it’s too wet. We have springs showing up in areas where they’re rarely seen.

    Tyler Williams, Extension Educator in Lancaster County: A lot of planting finished up last week before the rains hit. We don’t have a lot of flooded soils, but do have some yellow corn. Forecast is for a big storm system early next week (May 23-25) with possible severe weather in a slow moving storm with locally heavy rain. Toward the end of the month we should see some big systems every five to seven days.

    Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator in Nemaha County: We missed a lot of last week’s storm although some farms had structural damage. Most corn planting is done except in a few wet areas and some have started planting soybeans. The corn looks good, although there’s a lot of yellow corn. This year I’ve heard more complaints about pesticide drift, particularly to trees and vegetables, than I have in all my other years combined.  Wheat doesn’t look too bad and some soybeans are starting to peak through.

    Paul Jasa, Extension Engineer: Corn and soybeans are up and milo is spiking through at the Rogers Memorial Farm near Lincoln. Some corn in the area came up yellow but appears to be growing out of it. About 25% of the beans in the area have been planted.

    Troy Ingram, Extension Educator reporting for Valley, Greeley, Sherman and Howard Counties: We got 0.5 inches of precipitation yesterday in Ord, making it 10.5 inches for the month. We still have a lot of corn and beans to be planted. Very little corn is up, and what is is fairly yellow. Pasture looks good and rye cover crop has headed out and is going to seed.

    Ron Seymour, Extension Educator in Adams County: We had a nice planting window last week and 90% of the corn is in and some have turned to planting soybeans. Corn planted in early April is at the 2-leaf stage and looking good. We got about 0.20 inch of rain last night. Wheat is at the boot stage, looks good, and has some virus issues, although not severe. Pastures look good. We could use a little more dry weather to finish up the soybeans.

    Roger Elmore, Extension Cropping Systems Specialist, Lincoln: With these cool, wet conditions, growers should be on the lookout for seedling death. The comments about yellow corn aren’t surprising given the rains and cool conditions leading to an extended ugly duckling period for this year’s corn until good sunlight prevails and roots grow down to nitrogen.This is related to the period when seedlings transition from getting their nutrients from the seed to getting them from the nodal root. In cool, wet conditions this transition can slow and plants may begin to appear yellow if they can’t immediately reach the nutrients they need in the root zone.

    Todd Whitney, Extension Educator in Phelps County: Conditions here have been good. Corn is pretty well planted and more than 50% of soybeans are in. Wheat has headed out and is looking good. With a few days of sun, any yellow corn should grow out of it.

    Julie Peterson, Extension Entomologist at the West Central REC, North Platte: We’ve had wet conditions that slowed corn planting, but nothing like east of here. Wheat just started to shoot its flag leaf and should be heading around Memorial Day. We’re looking for fields to dry up some so planting can continue. A question came up relative to the potential for pillbug damage in irrigated no-till soybean following corn. As historical reports indicate spraying wasn’t too effective, light tillage may be needed. (2010 CW at

    Gary Stone, Extension Educator in Scotts Bluff County: We’ve had freeze warnings the last two nights here. Sugarbeets are in and dry bean planting should start in the next 10-14 days. Two of the Wyoming reservoirs on the North Platte are full and the rest are near full ( Lake McConaughy is at 90%. There is some flooding between the Wyoming border and Lewellen and there will be more.  See the North Platte River Basin Water Update in CropWatch (

    Martha Shulski, Nebraska State Climatologist: A review of the 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks indicate a pretty decent chance for above normal temperatures for all of Nebraska, along with above normal precipitation. Further out, it looks like the transition from El Nino to La Nina will be mid to late summer with an increased chance of dryness in late summer. Above normal temperatures are likely through fall.

    Sarah Schlund, Extension Educator reporting for Dawson, Buffalo, and Hall Counties: Some producers are still planting corn in the area while others have started to put soybeans in the ground. Corn emergence was slow initially, but warmer temperatures last week allowed for emergence throughout the county. Rainy conditions to start this week will slow down some producers, especially with cooler temperatures projected for the week. I would estimate that more than half of the corn in the area has been planted while soybean planting has just started.

    Strahinja Stepanovic, Extension Educator in Southwest Nebraska: In the last two weeks we received about 1 inch of precipitation, average air temperatures ranged from 45°F to 65°F generating 123GDD (growing degree days), and soil temperatures gradually increased from 50°F to 58-62°F. Wheat is generally in good condition and pushing flag leaf. There have been isolated reports of stripe rust. Wheat is showing signs of nitrogen deficiency, particularly in low areas of the fields with standing water and poor drainage conditions.  See the author’s blog, Ag with Strahinja, for more details and information on field pea research with area farmers.

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