Iowa Field Reports: Corn Planting Shoots Ahead

Farmers across the state took advantage of the little dry spell that occurred last week. Approximately 70% of the expected corn crop and 27% of the soybean crop in Iowa has been planted according to the May 20 USDA-NASS Crop Progress and Condition Report. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists share reports on what they are seeing and hearing in their respective regions across the state with field conditions and planting progress.

Northwest Iowa

Paul Kassel (Region 2): “Areas in Dickinson County and Emmet County are the most affected by the wet weather and planting delays. The rest of my area has made really good planting progress. In a planting progress survey of some farmers and agri-business personnel, the respondents in Spirit Lake and Estherville reported about 50% completion on corn and 10% completion on soybean planting.

“About 95% of the corn acres and approximately 65% of the soybean acres are planted in areas like Britt, Cylinder, Sac City and Odebolt. Other areas like Rolfe, Algona and Schaller are about 90% planted on corn but are only around 30% planted on the soybean crop. Corn that was planted on April 21, April 24 and May 3 planting dates has emerged and looks pretty good. Growing Degree Days (GDDs) are 190, 155 and 135 for the April 21, April 24 and May 3 planting dates. Those GDDs are 80, 90 and 50 behind normal, respectively.”

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “We had a fairly decent week for field work and planting, but that was easily influenced by earlier, local rainfall amounts and soil conditions. My driving tour from Story City to St. Paul over the weekend pegged that I-35 corridor at approximately 60% planted; however, the good news in the Crop Progress Report for May 20 showed North Central Iowa at 83% of the corn planted and 28% of the beans planted.

“We received rain across the region from 1.3 to 2.8 inches from Thursday May 16 through May 20, with locally heavy amounts of 4 inches in the Mason City area.  Emergence has been slow with the cool temperatures. The corn that is up looks much better after our 90 degree day last week.”

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Last week’s favorable weather conditions really helped NE Iowa growers put a dent into the acres planted to corn. According to the May 20 USDA-NASS Crop Progress & Condition Report, growers in NE Iowa have 67% of the corn acres planted. We had conducive planting conditions last week up to Thursday. The favorable conditions ended with showers occurring throughout the area all day Friday and Saturday.

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“According to the Iowa Mesonet, the NE Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua received 2.02 inches of rain from May 12 through May 19, with 1.64 inches of that falling on Saturday, May 18. Isolated storms caused 4+ inches of rain to fall and cause flash flooding conditions in parts of Chickasaw County. The earliest planted corn is beginning to emerge, so it’s important to start scouting and assessing stand and emergence factors. The percentage of soybean acres planted are still low, under 30%.”

Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson: “Last week brought more rain than I expected to see across central Iowa, hindering planting progress again. From my windshield scouting, almost all of the corn is in the ground in my central Iowa counties, but we still have a ways to go on soybeans. Corn that is out of the ground is looking more even and green after a couple sunny days last week. Keep an eye on early corn stands, especially for early insect issues, anhydrous ammonia burn, and herbicide injury.

“Phone calls this week included questions about control of winter annual weeds, uneven corn stands, and soybean maturity groups. If you run into a winter annual weed (or any plant) you don’t recognize, try the iNaturalist app that Bob and I gave for a test run in our recent blog post.”

Southwest and West Central


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Aaron Saeugling (Region 6): “Most corn is planted where flooding has not been an issue. Soybean progress continues to move along slowly. We are approximately 70 to 75% complete. Early planted corn has now emerged and is in the V1 to V2 stage. Most corn is yellow and slow. We need some warm temperatures to green the yellow corn and soybeans. The later planted crops enjoyed the hot temps last week and are catching up to the earlier planed crops.”

East Central, Southeast, and South Central

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Last week we had a little break in the rain that allowed farmers to get back to the fields. Approximately 75% of the corn has been planted and 20 to 30% of the soybeans are planted in the counties I serve. Planting progress does vary though within my area. Early planted corn is around V1 and early planted soybeans have finally emerged.

“Take some time to evaluate emerged stands for any potential emergence issues or other early season issues such as insect pests, seedling diseases, and/or herbicide injury. Late corn and soybean planting considerations have been common questions this past week.”

Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “We had 0.5 inches to 3+ inches of rain in the last seven days. We had about 1.5 days of field work last week on Wednesday and early Thursday. My estimate is that corn is 70% planted in my southern counties and 50% to the north. For soybeans, I estimate that 25% of the soybeans are planted in my southern counties and 10% planted to the north. The corn planted in late April is up at VE to V1 and looks good.”

Josh Michel (Region 11): “Most of the region is continuing to receive rainfall every 3 or 4 days, which is severely limiting any additional fieldwork from being completed. Over the last 7 days, most of the area received anywhere from 1 to 2.5 inches of rainfall. The rainfall has greatly improved many pastures and alfalfa fields. The rainfall unfortunately though has not allowed many farmers to get back into the field to complete fieldwork like planting or herbicide applications.

“Several days of dry weather will be needed in most areas to allow field operations to continue. Generally, corn that has emerged is looking good. Some fields have had areas of standing water, which will likely cause some stand issues.”


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