Planters were rolling across fields in some areas of Iowa on April 30. With afternoon temperatures in the 80-degree F range in central Iowa, soils were above the 50 degree threshold considered by agronomists as necessary for corn to germinate. Yet there were many farmers who were looking at the weather forecast for cold, wet weather rolling in on Wednesday or Thursday and staying for an extended period -- the next five days or so -- these farmers decided not to begin corn planting yet.
USDA's weekly crop report released earlier this week showed only 2% of Iowa's corn acreage was planted as of April 28. Illinois was 1%, Indiana was 1% and nationwide it was only around 4%. "While we haven't turned many wheels in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana yet, corn planting progress actually moved from 4% in the 18 major corn producing states the week before -- to 5% as of April 28," notes Steve Johnson, an Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist in central Iowa. "That 5% of corn planted compares to 31% on the five-year average. Yes, planting progress in 2013 has been moving pretty slow."
Progress now compared to end of April 2012 is "night and day" difference
A year ago at the end of April Iowa had 44% of its corn planted. Nationwide corn planting was 49% complete. So if you compare this year in Iowa to last year, it's a difference of night and day. Iowa is seeing some more planters in the field on April 30 but we're in for a cool-down as well, observes Johnson.
ISU Extension corn agronomist Roger Elmore was advising farmers on April 29 to leave the seed corn in the bag and wait to plant it after the cold, wet weather spell that's on its way has passed and the weather warms once again next week.
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