Iowa's corn and soybean crops continue to improve thanks to last week's favorable weather, according to the weekly Iowa Crops and Weather Report released July 7 by the Iowa field office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Dry, sunny weather allowed farmers to put in a good week of fieldwork.
"A lot of work was able to take place across Iowa last week as fields continued to dry out," says state climatologist Harry Hillaker of the Iowa Department of Agriculture. "But crops this year are still running behind normal because of the cooler than normal June and delayed planting."
Corn and soybean crops in Iowa are both rated 57% good or excellent, according to the July 7 survey report issued by Iowa Ag Statistics Service. A week ago, 53% of Iowa's corn and 56% of the beans rated good or excellent. Fields that need to be replanted because of flooding or excessive rainfall have been replanted or most likely will not be replanted because it's simply now too late to plant to make a crop this year.
Replanting is 12% for corn, 13% beans
As of July 7, 12% of Iowa's corn and 13% of the soybeans either have been or will be replanted this year.
Crop progress this year still lags the 5-year average, the report says. Corn is averaging 36 inches in height, 25 inches behind last year at this time and 19 inches behind the 5-year average. Pasture conditions are rated 67% good or excellent, compared with 66% a week ago.
Every Monday morning, ISU Extension agronomists at Ames hold a telephone conference with their field agronomists across the state to get a handle on crop conditions. What is the consensus this week? Corn in general is growing very quickly and corn and soybean crops are looking a little better, says Roger Elmore, ISU Extension corn agronomist.
Corn yields will be down this year
Mark Carlton, ISU Extension field agronomist in southeast Iowa, says "The color of the corn is improving, corn is starting to grow. But our yields down here are hurt pretty badly this year."
He doesn't think farmers will see a normal yield in 2008 on most of the land in southeast and south central Iowa. "That is, compared to the last few years. We've had exceptional yields here in southern Iowa, but corn and soybean yields this year aren't going to come close. I'd say most of these fields, with corn on corn, are probably going to be down by 40 to 50 to 60 bushels per acre compared to last year."
Corn on corn in Iowa looks the worst this spring, compared to corn rotated with beans. "There are multiple reasons why this is true," says Elmore.
Will late-planted beans make money?
In southern and southeast Iowa, what percent of the acres didn't get planted to corn that were intended for corn? "Some people decided to go ahead and take prevented planting rather than plant corn late in June or in early July. Maybe 10% to 15% of the acres took prevented planting on corn."
What about soybeans? "I had calls on July 7 from farmers who weren't done planting yet and wanted to know if I thought they should go ahead and plant beans," says Carlton. "I think this week—by June 12, farmers will either plant beans or take prevented planting. If you look at a 20 bushel per acre yield potential with the price of soybeans at $15 a bushel, however, there is still some money to be made in these situations—even with the late soybean planting during the last week of June or the first week of July."
How is the 2008 hay crop doing?
"We are finally getting the hay harvested," says Carlton. "We basically put up the first and second cutting together. So we have huge tonnage, but quality is somewhat in doubt. On a lot of alfalfa this year the bottom leaves have been knocked off by foliar diseases. There were a lot of stems baled in southern Iowa in the past week."
"On the alfalfa fields that were harvested more on time this year, about two weeks ago, the regrowth of the hay is now looking pretty good," says Carlton.