The first state crop and weather report that came out Monday shows a much different start to the planting season compared to last year. Farmers spent little or no time in the field last week preparing the ground for planting. Iowa Agriculture Secretary, Bill Northey, farmers are “getting antsy” as they remember last year at this time when the temperatures were in the 70’s and preparations were farther along.
“And they remember at this time on the calendar they were looking at when to plant corn, and they had their planters ready to go,” Northey says. “They had probably a lot of the field work done, certainly likely all the fertilizer applied and in some cases some of the herbicide applied out there as well. So they were ready to plant at this time.”
There were some farmers who decided it was worth the risk and already had some corn in the ground by this time last year. But Northey says the early birds have been sidelined now by the cool weather.
“We had a good Fall, so some work — some of the fertilizer application and other things that could get done was done — but so far this Spring almost no fieldwork has been done or at least very little fieldwork done across the state,” according to Northey.
He says in April 2012, 75-percent of the state’s oat crop was in the ground. This year just over 10-percent has been planted. Northey says farmers are willing to wait another week or two to plant –especially if soil moisture levels are being recharged.
He adds that dry conditions last week were good for livestock producers who often deal with muddy pastures and feedlots this time of year.