Field work and corn planting have finally begun across much of Iowa, but the weather forecast may put the brakes on that work. Rain is expected later this week with highs only reaching into the 40s on Thursday and Friday.
Iowa State University Extension Agronomist Paul Kassel says planting progress is behind normal and well behind last year, but there’s still plenty of time to get corn planted and still see bumper yields.
“We can still use that old May 10 date as a date to be done by,” Kassel says. “There’s even evidence that northwest and north-central Iowa can go even later than that and still achieve maximum yields.”
The recent warm and dry conditions may have some farmers thinking about getting into their fields, but Kassel advises patience.
“Planting when it’s too wet…we know that can cause problems later on,” Kassel says.
“A little patience is well advised every spring, but maybe more so this spring.” Farmers may be tempted to plant corn a bit shallower than normal because of soils that are wet and cool. Kassel says that can also bring problems later on.
“That (depth of) 2.0 to 2.5 (inches) is about right. We don’t want any shallower than that because sometimes the soil can settle a little bit and the nodal root system can come out at the soil surface and that can cause problems. We had some of that last year,” Kassel says.
Last year at this time, Iowa farmers had half their corn planted.
By Dan Skelton, KICD, Spencer