Joel DeJong

An Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist, Joel DeJong, says many of the northwest Iowa farmers he’s talked to have either finished planting or are getting close.

“You really have to look to find a field of corn that hasn’t been planted yet,” De Jong says. “And if you take a look — I would guess about three-quarters of the soybean fields are planted right now.” DeJong says the dry soil conditions have been excellent for the planting, but he says they could use a nice significant rainfall sometime soon.

He says the lack of moisture is a concern for those who have put in surface nitrogen, or used pre-emergent herbicides — as they need rain to get those things to work properly in the soil. DeJong says many of the earlier planted crops have had enough moisture to get them growing and poke out of the soil.

“I would say maybe ten to 15 — maybe even 20 percent of the corn is spiking — if you look closely in those fields,” according to De Jong. “You can’t really see a lot of it if you drive by at normal driving speed. If you start looking in fields, you start to see those spikes up there.”

He says the soybeans that are just getting planted need the water to get them going. “We really could use some rainfall to try to get that soybean crop emerged,” he says. The extension crops specialist says area alfalfa and oats crops are doing well, but like with the corn and soybeans, rain would be welcomed.

DeJong says they have set up traps to determine the likely severity and infestation of different crop pests like cutworms, and haven’t yet seen any indications of an infestation.

(By Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)