Iowa Field Reports: Planting Continues in “Starts and Spurts”

Corn approaching V4 stage. Photo: Paul Kassel, Iowa State University Extension

Mother Nature has not been a friend to farmers this spring, making the 2019 planting season a challenging one to say the least.

According to the June 3, 2019 USDA-NASS Crop Progress and Condition Report, approximately 80% of the expected corn crop has been planted and 58% has emerged across the state. On the soybean side, approximately 41% of the expected soybean has been plated and 17% has emerged across the state.

Check out what Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists are seeing and hearing for field conditions and planting progress in their respective regions across the state.

Northwest Iowa

Joel DeJong (Region 1): “The longest planting season I remember continued in starts and spurts again this week. Most of the southern part of the region I serve is nearly done with corn, and the northern counties might be nearing 60%. The easy acres are done, so finishing will be a challenge. Bean progress occurred when possible, but heavy rains this past week postponed most planting until over the weekend.

“Corn is emerged and up to the V3 stage, some soybean fields have emerged. Heavy rains last week caused some crusting, and occasional soybean emergence problems. In the northern counties there are many who still plan to plant some corn this week, and certainly plant beans whenever possible. I did observe a couple of mowed alfalfa fields.”

Paul Kassel (Region 2): “Six Prevented Planting and Delayed Planting meetings hosted by ISU Extension and Outreach last week revealed the sentiment that many farmers will attempt to plant corn this first week of June. The weather looks good for many farmers to complete corn planting and soybean planting this week.

“While the weather seems to be cooperating to allow farmers to get back in the fields, many farmers have fields or parts of fields that are being slow to dry out. As the crop that has been planted is starting to emerge, it’s been observed that the corn planted on May 16 is having emergence problems – especially in poorly drained areas.”

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “For the week May 27 through June 2, the counties I covered had rainfall ranging from 0.75 to 1.54 inches, with some local amounts topping 2.5 inches. Corn can be found in the bag to V4 and soybeans in the bag to V1. I have seen a few bean leaf beetles in emerged soybeans. A scouting trip to look at cover crop fields on May 28 found no true armyworms, and I have not seen any black cutworm damage.

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For the most part, both corn and soybean stands look good. There have been reports of soil crusting in some soybean fields. Folks in the southern part of my area were able to get back in the fields late Saturday, June 1 or Sunday, June 2.  The June 3 USDA-NASS Crop Progress Report shows NC Iowa at 90% planted on corn, but there are areas where there is very little corn planted.

“The same report showed beans at 47% planted for the NC crop reporting district, but again there are areas where there are no beans planted.  Even if we catch a break from the rain today (Monday June 3) it will be several days before some folks can get into the field.”

Northeast Iowa

Terry Bassol (Region 4): “The last couple of weeks have allowed NE Iowa farmers to get most or all of their corn acres planted and to make continued progress towards soybean planting. According to USDA-NASS, farmers in NE Iowa have 84% of the expected corn acres and 58% of the expected soybean acres planted as of June. Corn ranges from just being planted to V2 to V3 for the earlier planted acres. Soybeans are anywhere from just planted to VC (unrolled unifoliolate leaves).

“According to the Iowa Mesonet, the NE IA Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua received 2.72 inches of rain from May 20 through June 2, with 1.4 inches of that falling on Friday, May 24. Continue to scout newly emerged corn and soybean fields to assess stand and emergence. Now is also the time to be scouting for black cutworm activity, so be sure to look for leaf feeding and cutting of the corn seedlings.”

Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson (Region 7): “Much like everywhere else, rainfall stalled most field work through central Iowa. However, things picked up this weekend as we finally got a dry stretch through most of the area. Corn fields are really getting some size, with some as large as V4 or so (4 leaves with collars). Some fields are beginning to show significant streaking; some of the variation may be related to compaction from prior operations, while stripes and wave patterns across fields are apparent in some fields from anhydrous ammonia applications.

“While there are many soybean fields left to plant, earlier planted soybeans are emerging and the biggest beans I’ve seen were at stage VC (unifoliate leaves) over the weekend. Phone calls this week were mostly about managing large weeds, changing crop maturities, and managing hay in these wet conditions.”

Southwest and West Central

Aaron Saeugling (Region 6): “We have seen very little field work the last two weeks here in SW Iowa. Isolated areas have been able to get a few more acres planted. On the forage side, some have been able to chop rye and cut hay as well. I have not seen any baling of forage yet.  Corn is in the V2 to V4 stage, and early soybeans are in the V2 stage.”

East Central, Southeast, and South Central:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Rainfall totals over the last two weeks range from 3 to 5 inches. The wet conditions have kept field work at a minimum. Over the weekend, farmers have been able to get back in the fields. Corn is approximately 75 to 85% planted and soybeans are approximately 20 to 30% planted. Corn ranges from in the bag to V4 to V5 and soybeans range from in the bag to V1.

“There are a lot of yellow and uneven corn fields. Have seen and heard reports of black cutworms, bean leaf beetles, and seedling diseases in corn. Questions this past week have focused on delayed and prevented planting, weed management challenges, terminating headed out cereal rye, and nitrogen considerations with the wet spring.”

Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “There have been 3 inches (Jackson County) to 8 inches of rain (far southeast Iowa) in the last two weeks. Field work started for the first time in over two weeds on Sunday (June 2). Corn is 50 to 60 % planted. The April planted corn is about V4 while the corn planted mid-May is around V2. Tom Hillyer, and Independent Crop Consultant, observed two corn fields with cutting from black cutworms.

“Emergence is somewhat uneven. Soybeans are 20 to 25% planted. I have yet to observe any emerged fields of soybeans. Alfalfa is budding and 34 inches in height. Smooth bromegrass & orchardgrass are headed out. I have not seen any hay cut yet.”

Josh Michel (Region 11): “Much of the area received 2.5 to 4 inches of rainfall over the past week, with some isolated areas received up to 6 inches. Corn is around 50 to 60% planted. The earlier planted corn is in the V3 to V4 stage. With heavy rainfall in some areas, there are emergence concerns. Black cutworm feeding has been reported in the area. Soybeans are approximately 20 to 30% planted. Many planted fields have been very slow to emerge.

“The earlier planted soybeans are at V2 to V3. Reports of some bean leaf beetle feeding have been noted, although damage has been minimum. Alfalfa fields are either blooming or will quickly reach bloom. First cuttings are taking place as weather conditions allow. Alfalfa pest reports have been very minimal so far. To help address some of the questions surrounding delayed and prevented planting, two meetings will be offered this week, one in Wayne County on Wednesday, June 5 and another one in Lee County on Thursday, June 6.”


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