Planting progress took a huge leap forward this past week, as 69% of Iowa's 2011 corn acreage has been planted as of May 8. That compares to only 8% of the crop planted as of May 1, according to the government's latest weekly weather and crop survey. The results were released May 9 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service.
"That means 61% of the state's corn was planted last week, making it one of the largest planting weeks ever and planters are continuing to roll," notes Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "Weather this past week was nearly perfect, as the dramatic progress made in both corn and soybean planting shows. We need a big crop this year to replenish grain supplies, so this turnaround during the first week of May from the wet, cold weather and planting delays Iowa experienced in April is indeed good news."
Although conditions were not optimal in all areas of the state last week, farmers worked long hours to plant their crops. Their only complaint was that windy conditions prevented some spraying from getting done.
Tremendous planting ability with use of big planters, and no-till
Comments from farmers and other crop reporters included: "Finally, we've been able to plant and it isn't taking too long. We went from not having a kernel in the ground to finishing with corn and starting to plant some soybeans." Another crop reporter added, "Corn planting is proceeding at a breakneck pace. Farmers have a tremendous planting capacity with the size of equipment they're now using and with so much no-till planting being done these days."
While 69% of Iowa's corn acres for 2011 have been planted, that's behind last year's 92% done by May 8 and it is equal to the 5-year average. "This 61% planted in a single week is the largest single week increase since the 64% increase during the first full week of May in 1992," says Greg Thessen, director of the USDA/NASS office in Des Moines.
Only northeast Iowa has less than 50% of its 2011 corn crop planted as of May 8. Statewide, the planted crop is beginning to come up in many cases. Only 1% of Iowa's corn crop was emerged on May 1, but warming temperatures the rest of this week are expected to improve emergence. As farmers complete their planting of corn, a number of them are moving rapidly to soybeans.
Bean planting 10% complete in Iowa; that's behind 18% average
Soybean planting is 10% complete in Iowa, well behind last year's 40% complete and behind the average of 18% for May 8 over the last 5 years. Oat acreage planted is 97% complete for Iowa as of May 8, 2011, which is behind last year's 99% but ahead of the average of 92%. Looking at oat emergence, 72% of this year's Iowa oat acres have emerged, well behind last year's 89% but ahead of the 5-year average of 65%.
Pasture and range condition is now rated statewide as 1% very poor, 7% poor, 33% fair, 48% good and 11% excellent. Pasture growth improved with the arrival of warmer temperatures, and producers are continuing to move cattle to pasture.
There were 6.2 days suitable for field work last week in Iowa. Only the north central, northeast and southeast crop reporting districts had less than 6 days suitable. Topsoil moisture levels in Iowa fell to zero percent very short, 6% short, 87% adequate and 7% surplus. Subsoil moisture currently is rated at zero percent very short, 2% short, 85% adequate and 13% surplus.
Nationally, corn planting is now 40% complete for 2011
Nationwide, USDA's "percent planted" estimate is 40% for U.S. corn acreage as of May 8, 2011, compared with a 5-year average of 59%. USDA says 7% of the nation's 2011 soybean crop has been planted. That compares to a normal of 17% by this date, says the USDA report.
Nebraska, which had 57% of its 2011 corn acres planted as of May 8, along with Iowa at 69%, fared better last week than Corn Belt states east of the Mississippi River, where wet conditions linger. Illinois, the nation's No. 2 corn producing state behind Iowa, reported 34% of its corn planted. Indiana was just 4% planted and Ohio 2% planted. This "behind the schedule" status nationally was enough to give corn futures a push on the Chicago Board of Trade on May 9, sending prices up 21 cents per bushel to $7.04.
The weekly Iowa Weather & Crop Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture site www.IowaAgriculture.gov and on USDA's site www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report also has a statewide weather summary for the week, prepared by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship in Des Moines.