The latest U.S.D.A. crop report showed there were four days suitable for fieldwork in the state last week — the most days farmers have had to get into the fields in over one month. The report says 96-percent of the corn crop was planted, the first time since 1993 that corn remains to be planted this late in the year.
Sixty-five percent of the soybeans have emerged, well behind the five-year average of 94-percent. The dry days were interrupted this weekend with more heavy rain across the state. Farm fields that are usually green with waving corn and soybean leaves are barren and some have small ponds of water sitting in them.
Forest City co-op elevator manager, Randy Broester, has this assessment of the situation in north-central Iowa. “Very wet. A lot of corn has been washed out. Probably had ten to fifteen percent replants and we actually only originally got only about sixty-percent of our corn planted. Our corn is way behind on height — Fourth of July ‘knee-high’ will be good,” Broester says.
He says they probably won’t see knee-high corn until the 10th or 12th of July.
Mike Brown farms 1,100 acres north of Mason City. “It’s the worst spring I’ve been through — just had a mass amount of rain. We went from drought to surplus. We’ve had a lot of flooding in this area,” Brown says.
In Winnebago County, Wayne Johnson altered his planting strategy to deal with the wet conditions. “I’m just putting beans and corn wherever it’s dry. It has nothing to do with a rotation this year,” Johnson says.
Johnson won’t be planting several hundred acres — they’re just too wet and Iowa may have eight-hundred thousand or more acres like it left unplanted. The acres left without corn or soybeans need some type of cover crop planted on them to avoid erosion, but the cover crop seed is now in short supply. Brown says it all adds up to a lot of stress.
“I’m not a big farmer, it’s just my wife and I. It’s the most stress I’ve ever seen. All my friends, you know, it’s just a tough..tough spring,” according to Brown. The corn condition was showing a slight improvement with three percent rated very poor and 11 percent poor. The soybean condition rating improved slightly, as 54 percent of the crop was rated good or excellent.