Iowa farmers are facing a host of challenges as they prepare to plant corn and soybeans. Agronomist Clarke McGrath says the recent rains have many fields resembling lakes, while the soil in other areas of the state is still bone-dry.
McGrath says planting season is coming sooner, not later, for some farmers.
He says April 25th is usually the starting date for corn planting while early May has been the traditional start time for planting soybeans but those recommendations are being revised forward.
McGrath is an agronomist for the Iowa State University Research Farm near Lewis in southwestern Iowa. He says a disease called soybean rust has been a concern in recent years and it’s unclear how big a threat it may be in the upcoming growing season. McGrath says there appears to be little concern about soybean rust but farmers need to remember “it’s still out there and it could still be an issue.” He says soybean aphids are another troublesome pest that Iowa farmers will be combating soon.
Aphids are tough and overwinter very well as it’s hard to freeze those eggs that are laid on the buckthorn bushes. Another pesky problem for Iowa growers is the corn rootworm. He says insecticides have done a good job of controlling those rootworms over the years but transgenic hybrids are rootworm-resistent and testing has shown they’re much more effective and better than insecticides.