Iowa farmers worked between rain showers last week to advance corn planting to 92% finished. And they have 51% of the state's 2015 soybean acres planted as of May 17, according to the weekly crop progress survey released May 18 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines.
"Farmers continue to make planting progress and Iowa remains ahead of the five-year average for both corn and soybeans," notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "But the recent wet weather has slowed progress significantly, especially in southwest Iowa, and there is some standing water being reported in some fields." Nationally, USDA reports 85% of the U.S. corn crop is planted as of May 17 and 45% of the soybeans are in the ground.
Iowa's young 2015 corn crop is off to a good start
"Corn fields in Iowa are looking good," observes Mark Johnson, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist in central Iowa. "As soon as it is dry enough, it will be time for post application of herbicide in many fields. While many preemergence herbicides are applied using liquid nitrogen as a carrier, this practice is only recommended prior to crop emergence." He's also getting some questions about when to start scouting for black cutworms. "Now is a good time to evaluate your corn stands in your fields and scout for any problems with weeds, insects and diseases."
Black cutworms have not been an issue so far in 2015. But you want to keep scouting your fields and now is the time to begin keeping an eye out for signs of leaf feeding by cutworms, he says. That's a sign they may start cutting off young corn plants soon.
The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress & Weather Report report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
Subsoil moisture has increased statewide to 83% adequate, 8% surplus
CROP REPORT: Wet and windy conditions slowed planting for Iowa farmers during the week ending May 17, 2015, according to the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Operators reported the wet weather led to standing water in some fields and the wind halted spraying activity.
Topsoil moisture increased slightly to zero percent very short, 4% short, 80% adequate and 16% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels also increased and now stand at 1% very short, 8% short, 83% adequate and 8% surplus. North central and southwest Iowa reported the highest topsoil levels with 100% and 99% rated adequate to surplus, respectively. Southwest Iowa reported the highest subsoil moisture level at 99% rated adequate to surplus.
Iowa corn crop is 92% planted, soybeans are 51% complete
Iowa's 2015 corn crop is now 92% planted, 6 days ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. Southwest Iowa is still lagging behind with just 75% planted, compared to northwest Iowa, where 98% of the corn is in the ground. Statewide corn is now 63% emerged, just over one week ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of normal.
Soybean planting is 51% complete, 3 days ahead of 2014, and 2 days ahead of the average. Only 17% of the expected soybean crop has been planted in southwest Iowa, with south central Iowa the next lowest at 40% complete. With nearly all the Iowa's oat crop planted, oats emerged has reached 92%, 8 days ahead of last year, and 5 days ahead of normal. Oat condition has improved slightly with 81% rated good to excellent.
Limited progress has been made on the first cutting of alfalfa hay due to the cool, wet weather. Hay conditions now rate 80% good to excellent. Pasture conditions also have improved to 70% good to excellent as of May 17. Livestock conditions are reported as mostly normal with a majority of cattle being turned onto pasture. Some cattle lots were described as messy or muddy. Meanwhile, poultry producers across the state continue to discuss the effects of avian influenza.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending May 17, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past week began with widespread light to moderate rain from Sunday (May 10) afternoon into Monday (May 11) morning. Tuesday (May 12) was dry while rain moved back into western Iowa Wednesday (May 13) night. Rain fell over most of the state on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the greatest amounts falling over west central and southwest Iowa. Finally, there were a few showers and thunderstorms on Sunday (May 17). Rain totals for the week ranged from 0.45 inches at the Cedar Rapids Airport to 4.45 inches at the Audubon Airport. The statewide average precipitation was 1.32 inches while normal for the week is 1.05 inches.
Severe thunderstorms, high winds, large hail and a tornado
Meanwhile, cooler than normal weather prevailed from Monday through Thursday, with the coolest weather on Monday when highs were only in the mid-forties over northwest Iowa. Much warmer and more humid weather quickly returned for the weekend before a cold front swept across the state on Sunday. Temperature extremes ranged from a Tuesday morning low of 33 degrees at Elkader to afternoon highs of 83 degrees at Davenport and Maquoketa on Saturday (May 16) and at Bellevue and Clinton on Sunday afternoon (May 17). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.4 degrees above normal. Severe thunderstorms were scattered across portions of northwest and west central Iowa on Sunday (May 10) with greatest damage from high winds, large hail and a tornado in Calhoun County. There were also a few reports of damaging winds in central and south central Iowa early Sunday (May 17) morning.