Cool, wet weather has kept the planting season from getting into full swing, but that could change this week. Iowa Ag Secretary, Bill Northey, says farmers are anxious to get things moving. “Last week we really didn’t get much planting done, there may’ve bee a few spots that did, but most of the state was wet,” Northey says. “I’ve seen a little bit of corn emerge as I was around in southwest Iowa last week. I think there is a lot of hope for this week to get quite a bit of corn in the ground. We’ve got some sunny weather with a little bit of breeze to dry it out.”
He says farmers will be watching the fields to be ready to go as soon as they are dry enough. “My guess is that farmers have the planters on the edge of the fields ready to go,” Northey says. The new U.S.D.A. crop report released Monday showed 23-percent of the expected corn acreage in the state was planted. That nine days ahead of last year but 10 days behind normal.
Northey says farmers generally like to get planting by the end of March or the first week of May, but there is still time. “We don’t want to get more than a week out from now to get most of the corn in — so there is plenty of time,” according to Northey. He says the rain really helped in areas that were very dry. The extreme cold pushed the frost deeper into the ground than normal, and Northey says that was another factor in keeping farmers out of the fields. “I think especially across northern Iowa that frost came out really slow. I heard of some frost still in the ground a week or two ago, but I think the moisture helped dry some of that frost out,” Northey says. He says most areas have probably warmed up enough now to allow planting.
The crop report shows scattered bean planting so far, and Northey expects that to pick up as farmers get into the fields. “I certainly think some beans will start in the ground here not too long after the corn is in,” Northey says. Northey farms near Spirit Lake and says he hopes to start and finish his planting this week.