Is Replant in Your Future?

Farmer Iron

Soggy weather across areas that were once drought stricken bring new worries.

Published on: May 28, 2013

One thing's for sure, in this business change is now the norm. Officially, the drought is over for areas east of the Missouri river - especially after the Memorial Day weekend. In fact, we're past drought and talking flooding again.

My home town - Vinton, Iowa - was hit pretty hard five years by flooding. I was there over the holiday and visions of that last round of flooding have to be going through the minds of those in town. Outside of town every creek I saw was over its banks, and the rivers were running higher than ever.

The sad news is that before the holiday deluge began, my wife and I were marveling at the beauty of a just-emerged corn crop and hoping farmers could move on to soybeans and finally finish spring work. On the drive home, after the rains began, it was clear that in a lot of fields the next task will be to wait for it to dry out and head back out to replant some corn. And for field left untouched by the planter, those prevented planting dates are close (past in some cases).

ALL TOO COMMON: Soggy corn is the rule of the day for the heart of the Corn Belt after heavy rains.
ALL TOO COMMON: Soggy corn is the rule of the day for the heart of the Corn Belt after heavy rains.

And keeping equipment working under these conditions is no winning proposition either. You've been on the go for weeks. And while there are significant bursts of planting - as we saw from May 13 to May 20 - the next challenge is lack of sleep.

I don't hear any complaining about this rain. I hear lament that more work is done and more needs to be done. But after the driest year in the past 60, this rain remains more good news than bad - for now.

For those of you reading this from areas not blessed with the Memorial Day Monsoon, hopefully you'll see some rains too. This spring has been tough on all of you (not so much for me since I live in town and my biggest worry is mowing my grass patch).

The next worry - after replant - will be how this high level of moisture is impacting nitrogen availability to your corn crop. Wet weather can move nitrogen out of the root profile, so a side-dress may be warranted once fields dry up enough again.

As usual, the devil is in the details.