USDA Report Shows Farmers Have Planted Only A Few Acres Of Corn

USDA report says forecast for cold, wet conditions this week has many farmers willing to wait until next week to plant corn.

Published on: Apr 30, 2013

USDA's weekly Crops & Weather report issued April 29 shows the 2013 corn planting season is underway in Iowa—just barely. The report says through Sunday April 28--"Farmers began to plant a small amount of corn." The statewide survey of crop reporters indicates many farmers are holding off on planting as they are worried about the cold, wet weather forecast for the rest of this week. Soil temperatures may plummet below the 50 degree threshold that corn seed needs to germinate.

"It's April 29 and normally this late in the season farmers would go ahead and plant anyway," observes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "But forecasts show wet, cold conditions across Iowa for the next four or five days or so. Soil temperatures were in the mid-to-high 50s on Sunday in much of the state, but the cold temperatures are expected to move in on Wednesday—the first day of May."

SLOW START FOR 2013 PLANTING: The weekly crop and weather report issued by USDA shows farmers in Iowa began to plant a small amount of corn as of April 28. Cool wet weather across the state at the beginning of last week prevented most farmers from getting in the field. This April has been the wettest Iowa has seen in 141 years of weather records compiled by the state climatologist, and the result has been a very slow start to the 2013 planting season.
SLOW START FOR 2013 PLANTING: The weekly crop and weather report issued by USDA shows farmers in Iowa began to plant a small amount of corn as of April 28. Cool wet weather across the state at the beginning of last week prevented most farmers from getting in the field. This April has been the wettest Iowa has seen in 141 years of weather records compiled by the state climatologist, and the result has been a very slow start to the 2013 planting season.

Northey, who farms at Spirit Lake in far northwest Iowa, not far from the Minnesota border, says he hasn't planted anything yet. "We could see quite a bit of field activity in some areas of Iowa if this warm dry weather of the past several days hangs on for a few more days," he says. That field activity would be mainly fertilizer application, spraying herbicides and using light tillage to prepare for planting.

If conditions improve next week, many farmers will put corn in the ground
If conditions improve next week, farmers may have a chance to get some corn planted before May 10. Corn planted in Iowa after May 10 is considered to be on the late side of normal. After May 10 the yield potential can drop. However, seed doesn't do well if you plant it in cold, wet conditions.

Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.

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So with fields already wet in many parts of Iowa, and with more rain and colder temperatures in the forecast for the next five days or so, many farmers are waiting rather than putting seed in the ground April 29 and 30.

USDA's weekly Crops & Weather report for Iowa is issued every Monday by the Des Moines office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service.
The weekly report is on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website or on USDA's site. Here's the summary of the report as of April 28, which was compiled and released April 29:

CROP REPORT: The week ending April 28, 2013 began with unfavorable conditions, but dry and warmer weather across Iowa late in the week allowed fieldwork to resume. There was an average of 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, according to the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Field activities included tilling and application of fertilizers and herbicides.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3% very short, 7% short, 76% adequate and 14% surplus statewide. Subsoil moisture levels rated 13% very short, 31% short and 51% adequate and 5% surplus.

Although oat planting picked up pace in Iowa and was 45% complete as of April 28, it was well behind last year's 97% and the five-year average of 79%. Farmers began to plant a small amount of corn. Pasture and range condition rates 16% very poor, 23% poor, 40% fair and 19% good and 2% excellent.

Other key corn producing states also are off to a slow start, reporting very little planting progress. Iowa is at 2% corn planting completed as of April 28, well behind its 36% average; Indiana, at 1% corn planting completed, is behind its 30% average for this date. Illinois at 1% is also way behind its average.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending April 28, 2013
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

The past reporting week began with unseasonably cool and wet weather. Rain began over the northwest one-half of Iowa on Sunday (April 21) and changed to snow over about the northwest one-quarter of the state on Monday (April 22). A few areas from west central into north central Iowa picked up more than an inch of rain while snow accumulated up to six inches in Lyon County in the northwest corner of Iowa.

Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.

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Light rain fell over the southeast one-third of Iowa on Tuesday (April 23) with some snow also reported. Very light rain fell nearly statewide on Wednesday (April 24). A welcome period of dry weather began on Thursday and continued into Sunday (April 28) with the exception of a few showers in extreme southeast Iowa on Saturday.

Statewide average precipitation in April 2013 sets new record for April in Iowa
Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.04 inches at Dubuque to 1.84 inches at Underwood in Pottawattamie County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.53 inches while normal for the week is 0.94 inches. The rain pushed the statewide average precipitation for the month to an April record of 6.52 inches (old record among 141 years of data was 6.25 inches in 1999). Monthly rain totals have been more than double usual April totals over parts of eastern Iowa but were only near normal over portions of the northwest and southwest corners of the state.

Meanwhile temperatures over the past week were well below normal through Thursday and finally climbed to well above normal over northwest Iowa by Sunday (April 28). Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Wednesday morning low of 21 degrees at Sibley to a Sunday afternoon high of 86 degrees at Sioux City. Sunday's readings were the first 80's recorded in Iowa this year and marked the latest start to eighty degree weather in the state since 1993.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 4.5 degrees below normal. Finally, soil temperatures warmed into the mid to upper 50's statewide as of Sunday (April 28) but will likely fall back into the forties when much cooler weather returns at mid-week.

Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.