Farm scene spring 2019

A Crawford County farmer takes advantage of a dry spell of weather in May to prepare land west of Vail for planting. Photo by Gordon Wolf

Farmers in west central and northwest Iowa have been facing the same conditions as their counterparts throughout the state – delayed planting due to too few windows for planting opportunities and cool temperatures.

In fact, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, in comments made June 3 on the weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report, termed the situation “historic planting delays.”

Despite that, crops that are in the ground are growing, although slowly.

Mike Witt, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO) field agronomist for Crawford, Carroll, Greene, Shelby, Audubon and Guthrie counties, said that the crop conditions are generally good for his region (Region 6).

“The overall theme is that everything is just delayed due to the cooler temperatures, lower heat unit accumulation, wet conditions and delayed planting,” Witt told the Denison Review in an email.

“There are some acres of yellowing and uneven corn and slow emerging soybeans with the above average moisture and lower temperatures, causing these issues, but things are growing,” he added.

The crop progress for corn in Witt’s region ranges from not planted to V5 (five corn leaves, eight inches tall).

For soybeans, the range is from not planted to VE (emergence) or V2 (two trifoloates or five inches tall).

Witt continued that over 90 percent of the corn is in the ground in his region (as of June 4) and a little more than 60 percent of the soybeans have been planted.

With a stretch of dry weather forecast, Witt expected much of the remaining acres to be planted.

He had seen very little disease and concerns so far.

“There is some concern for replant acres with the wet conditions, but these areas tend to be the areas that are always a concern for farmers,” Witt said. “River or bottom areas may see more prevent planting acres if things are not able to get in, but overall we are in decent shape in comparison to others in the United States.”

In southwest Iowa, corn that has been planted is mostly V2 (second leave) to V4, said Aaron Saeugling, ISUEO field agronomist for the 14 counties in Region 10.

He added that spraying has been a challenge, and lack of sunshine and wet soil conditions are causing yellowing in some plants.

Pasture conditions are very good with excellent growth but he cautioned livestock producers to watch for pink eye problems because most cool-season grasses have set seeds, so the seed heads may irritate animals’ eyes.

“The biggest challenge is to finish planting right now then to apply herbicides,” Saeugling said

Soybean planting is nearing the end for many farmers in the southern part of the region served by ISUEO Field Agronomist Joel DeJong.

That is Region 1, which is composed of Lyon, Osceola, Sioux, O’Brien, Plymouth, Cherokee, Woodbury, Ida and Monona counties.

He said in his northern counties, those that are near the Minnesota border, a lot of corn planting is taking place, as well as some planting of soybeans.

“Some replanting will occur in areas where the crop had emerged and then water sat, but I don’t think that is happening yet,” he told the Iowa Farm and Ranch in a June 5 email. “Some corn acres will be designated for ‘prevented planting’ in counties to the north, also.

“Additionally, along some rivers, flooding is still occurring. Although limited in the total numbers affected by this, those acres won’t see a corn crop this year, either.”

That said, DeJong added that the progress during the week had been rapid.

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s weekly crop progress report for May 27 through June 2, said 80 percent of the corn crop had been planted in Iowa, nearly three weeks behind the 5-year average, which was the smallest amount of corn planted by June 2 since 1982 when 76 percent of the expected crop had been planted.

Soybean planting was 58 percent completed, 18 days behind last year’s progress and also the 5-year average, the smallest percent of soybeans planted by June 2 since 1993 when just 39 percent of the expected crop had been planted.

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