July 23, 2014

Farmers had more dry days to work with last week

The U.S.D.A. crop report issued Monday showed drier conditions allowed farmers to get more work done in the fields last week. The report says there were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork — the first time since mid-June that farmers have had over 3 suitable days across the whole state to work in the field. Some of that field work included replanting drowned out crops, or adding nitrogen to areas that saw it washed out. Parts of northwest Iowa had more than 20 inches of rain in recent weeks.

Iowa State University Agronomist Paul Kassel says that continues to create water problems. “The big issue is there’s some corn that has moisture stress from having way too much moisture and our drainage systems are overtaxed,” Kassle says. He says the water doesn’t drain away and that impacts the corn. “We have some corn that just looks terrible, it’s maybe knee-high, it’s very yellow. The question is how do we manage that, what do we do about that,” Kassle says.

He says in some cases farmers are trying to rescue some of their nitrogen-starved corn crop. “Some of that corn we think is probably worth it — maybe it’s only one stage behind the kind of normal corn,” Kassell says “Some people are side-dressing extra nitrogen on that with high-clearance rigs. Some of that is going on with airplanes with aerial application.”

Kassel says the worst areas in northwest Iowa are in Buena Vista, Clay, Palo Alto and Pocahontas Counties. Overall, the crop report says 76-percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. Seventy-three percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, unchanged from last week.