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."
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.
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