The heavy snow that covered Iowa all winter hasn’t slowed spring corn planting. In fact, Clark McGrath with Iowa State University’s Corn and Soybean Initiative, says planting is way ahead of schedule. “We are looking at one of the best early starts to a planting season that we’ve had in a long time,” McGrath said. “I don’t want to jinx it, but, so far so good.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Iowa farmers had planted 19% of the corn crop as of this weekend. Normally, at this time of year, only 5% of the crop’s been planted. “We’re probably a week to 10 days ahead of schedule as far as the crop getting in the ground and the way things are working out in the fields,” McGrath said.
The mild weather in late March and early April helped the snow to melt gradually, allowing it to soak into the ground instead of flooding fields. Roger Elmore is a corn agronomist with Iowa State University Extension. “Every year is different…normally a snowpack like we had would just create all sorts of havoc with runoffs and erosion and floods and wet soils,” Elmore said.
Forecasters are predicting a good growing season with warm, mild conditions. Elmore says earlier planting dates often mean higher yields.