Iowa agronomists seeing planting progress and problems

Iowa agronomists seeing planting progress and problems

Corn planting 2016 is nearing completion in Iowa, but wet weather is still delaying some farmers.

Iowa has 80% corn planted as of May 8, according to Monday's USDA Crop Progress Report, up from 57% the previous week. The weekly statewide survey shows that soybean acreage planted also made a notable jump from 7% complete on May 1 to 29% as of May 8.

Many farmers were able to get back in the fields this past weekend with a break in the rainfall as the situation dried out enough. Other farmers continue to be affected by wet conditions that have persisted this week. Every Monday in a telephone conference, Iowa State University Extension field agronomists report planting progress, field conditions and crop problems in their area. Here is the Monday, May 9 summary:

Northwest Iowa

SCOUT EMERGED CORN: As you scout corn stands for early season weed control, seedling disease and insects, check stand population and uniformity. Keep an eye out for what is ‘not normal’. Lack of stand uniformity may be from planter operation, disease, insects or other causes. In general, scout for ‘not normal.’

Joel DeJong (Region 1): "Before this week we had about 30% of the corn planted in northwest Iowa. That corn is now emerged, but we had been too wet for about two weeks to make much progress. On Tuesday evening of this past week (May 3), a few planters got started and more were added to the list on Wednesday. In both cases, the conditions were probably on the wet side, but many people were pushing the limit because they had not had much of a chance to plant.

“Thursday, May 5 through Sunday, May 8 were busy planting days, and the area is likely at about 80% now completed for corn. There were more wet areas and fields not planted than I had ever observed before here in northwest Iowa. Action has been more limited on the Missouri River bottom and along some of the streams in the area, due to low-land flooding. Soybean planting has started and is maybe 20% complete for the area, as a whole. Some areas haven’t started, while others have made quite a bit of progress. But, corn comes first."

Paul Kassel (Region 2): "In my northwest Iowa region, I’d say, roughly, that Highway 4 and east has about 99% corn planted and 50% soybean planted. The western part of the area, especially Clay, Dickinson and Buena Vista counties, has 65% corn planted and 10% soybean. One farmer from western Palo Alto County told me he still has water across a road from the heavy rains that occurred one to two weeks ago. I predict there will be some replant on corn and soybeans because of drowned areas and crusted, hard soils in both eastern and western areas of the region."

North-Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): "Corn is 95% planted, and I would say 75% emerged across most counties. The further west you go, such as Calhoun County, folks tell me it is more like 75% to 80%. Soybeans are 80% to 90% planted in the eastern and southern part of my nine counties, but likely a bit less the further west you go where it was wetter. I have only received one phone call about corn emergence concerns, although up until today’s rain we had seen some soil crusting. I have also had a few calls with concerns about preplant herbicides not being activated by timely rains and some grass coming through on a few fields."

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): "Field operations started up again on Wednesday of last week (May 4) for most of the farmers in the area, with some possible planting activity as early as late Tuesday afternoon. Planting progress for the growers has been very good since then, and I would estimate over 90% of the corn has been planted in my area, with a very good start on soybean acres planted, as well. Hard to tell how many soybean acres have been planted, but if I had to estimate, I would say possibly around 20% to 25%. The early planted corn is beginning to emerge in the area, and can start to be rowed as you drive by each of the fields. We had light showers here this morning, which were enough to keep farmers from getting in the fields right away."

Brian Lang (Region 5): “In my area of northeast Iowa, corn is emerging. As we scout early season corn stands, we always keep an eye out for what is ‘not normal.’ Lack of stand uniformity may be from planter operation, disease, insects, or other. So, in general, scout for ‘not normal’ (i.e., gaps in the stand, uniform emergence or plant height, disease lesions on leaves, holes in leaves, cut plants, etc.). If ‘not normal’ is found, then investigate further to define the problem in order to correct it. Dig plants to determine planting depth, root health, feeding from insects, etc.”

A list of basic items to consider/investigate when field patterns and/or symptoms on seedlings are ‘not normal’ are: soil conditions; seed depth and spacing, plant population, and uniformity of emergence; disease symptoms; herbicide injury; insect damage; fertilizer burn; and recent weather trends (i.e. extreme temperature swings or extended wet or dry conditions).

Helpful publications and field guides can be found at the ISU Extension Store. If you don’t have a field guide or seed company guide, you can find corn stand evaluation information in this ICM News article: Replant Checklist.

Southwest and West-Central Iowa

Michael Witt (Region 11): "Wet field conditions kept farmers out of the fields until Wednesday (May 3), but most started up planting again on Thursday. They ran hard until rain stopped them on Saturday or Sunday, depending on their location. Across the area, I estimate around 90% of corn planted. Soybeans are spotty with some farmers near 60% to 70% done and others that haven’t planted soybeans at all. On average, I would say that 25% of soybeans are in the ground across the five county areas I cover.”

“Some farmers are having issues with cover crop termination due to later growth stages of the cover crops, herbicide issues and inability to get into fields. The next week does not look favorable for planting conditions until possibly later in the week. I was helping plant corn on the ISU Western Corn Research Farm in Castana, Iowa on Thursday and Friday. We were able to get over 70% of the bulk corn for that farm planted."

Aaron Saeugling (Region 6): "In southwest Iowa, corn is approximately 80% to 90% planted in most areas. Some locations along Highway 2 have more corn acres to plant due to excessive precipitation. We will be scouting for black cutworms and looking for damping-off of corn in wet areas. Soybean planting is more spread out, somewhere between 40% to 60% complete. I’ve had several questions on planting interval after 2, 4-D applications. Alfalfa and pastures look good. Terminating cover crops has been challenging. Those farmers looking to harvest fall cereal grains for silage late this week should begin. Most are now in the boot stage."

Clarke McGrath: "There’s a wide range of planting progress in west-central and southwest Iowa, from growers completely done with corn and soybean to growers still pulling NH3 and having dry fertilizer spread. We are probably 85% or so done with corn and have about 40% of soybean planted. We’ll have limited replanting in corn (hopefully) with primarily ponding and a little crusting in places. However, given the consistent rainfall we are having a hard time getting these areas to dry up enough to get back into them.”

As corn is coming up, you should spot check the emergence, and specifically watch for differences in emergence scores among hybrids, and check planter performance.

Remember that with the RR2Xtend beans, you can use dicamba burndowns, but you have to follow the current label that mandates a planting interval based on rate and rainfall. You can’t legally shorten that up yet. Don’t have a mix-up and get into hot water with IDALS or EPA. Also, check your preplant and preemerge herbicides. We are seeing a few areas where it is almost time to apply some early postemerge in corn, once it dries up. All the recent rains will likely create more escapes than normal."

Central Iowa

Mark Johnson (Region 7): "We’ve received just enough rain to keep us from getting to 99% on corn. Parts of Dallas County have had heavy rains, with water over U.S. Highway 169, north of Adel. Overall in my nine county areas, I’d say we’re at about 90% for corn planted, with most area at 95% complete and some 100% complete. Soybeans are very spotty throughout the region. Some areas are at about 40% complete, while other areas range from 10% to 20% to 100% complete for soybeans. At 8:00 a.m. this morning, I gauged 0.6 inches of rain. We have rain in the forecast through Wednesday of this week."

Southeast and East-Central

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): "Toward the latter half of the week, farmers in southeast and south-central Iowa were able to get back in the field with planting. Corn is about 90% to 95% planted, but soybean planting progress varies, depending upon were you are located across the region. Both corn and soybeans have been slower to emerge, especially that which was planted the week of April 18. Keep your eyes open for seedling diseases and damping-off."

Meaghan Anderson (Region 9): "Corn is probably 85% to 90% planted across east- central Iowa, with some farmers well into soybeans and others just getting started on corn this past week. Soybean planting progress differs greatly across the region. I’ve seen a lot of corn stubble fields still not planted. Farmers are still working to get all the cover crops terminated or are waiting to harvest them as hay or seed. Most overwintered cereal rye is between boot stage and completely headed out at this point."

Virgil Schmitt (Region 10): "During the last week we had between a few 10ths and about an inch of rain in east-central Iowa, with heavier amounts generally north of I-80. Field work began, seriously, on Friday and continued over the weekend. Alfalfa is about 24-inches tall and in late vegetative growth stage. Corn is about 85% to 99% planted, depending on where you are, and soybeans are about 25% to 40% planted. I have seen corn at the V2 growth stage in Des Moines and Lee counties, while some corn is still waiting to be planted. I have not seen emerged soybeans."

Do you have questions concerning crop production or crop problems on your farm? Find your local ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist here!

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