Thanks to favorable weather and soil conditions this past week, farmers in Iowa planted a lot of corn—and some soybeans. Corn planting jumped to 70% complete in Iowa as of May 11, according to USDA's weekly statewide survey. That's up from 23% of the 2014 corn acreage planted in Iowa as of the end of the previous week—which was May 2. So, at 70% planted as of May 11, Iowa is now back on par with its 5-year average for corn planting.
Soybean planting also surged last week, with 20% of the 2014 Iowa bean crop planted as of May 11, up from only 1% planted by the end of the previous week.
Nearly half of Iowa's 2014 corn acreage was planted last week
"Farmers were very busy in the fields last week with nearly half of the expected corn acres for 2014 being planted. That's about 7 million acres planted during the week ending May 11. And almost 20% of the soybeans were planted, or about 2 million acres," notes Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "The rain we received the past couple of days was good for the crop in the ground, but it is a challenge for those farmers who still need to get the rest of their crops planted."
The photo accompanying this article shows Corey Malichky drilling beans into a cereal rye cover crop on the Dennis Berger & Son farm near Wellman in southeast Iowa. This was on May 10. Malichky works for Dennis and Steve Berger and also has a farm of his own. "This cereal rye cover crop was planted September 25 immediately following corn harvest," explains Steve. "The cereal rye was terminated by spraying Roundup herbicide the day before we planted these beans. We planted on Saturday May 10."
This is a soybean seed production field, as the Bergers grow Asgrow brand seed beans for Monsanto. "We've only had three-tenths of an inch of rain in May so far," reported Steve on Monday morning May 12. "We are one of the drier areas in the state. But that could change, of course, maybe this afternoon, as rain is forecast."
Corn planting in Iowa jumped to 70% complete as of May 11
The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship site or on USDA's site. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Optimal conditions allowed almost half of the expected corn acreage for 2014 to be planted in Iowa during the week ending May 11, according to the USDA/NASS survey. Average temperatures were above normal for the week, while average precipitation was below normal. Statewide there were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Other activities for the week included fertilizer and herbicide application, manure hauling, and spraying.
Topsoil moisture in Iowa rated 1% very short, 10% short, 74% adequate and 15% surplus as of May 11. Subsoil moisture rated 9% very short, 26% short, 60% adequate and 5% surplus. Northwest Iowa remained the driest region with almost one-third of topsoil reported as very short or short of moisture.
Corn planting in 2014 in Iowa has caught up to normal pace
After a wet spring in much of Iowa delayed planting, the pace advanced rapidly at the beginning of the week, which was Monday May 5. By the end of the week, Sunday May 11, oat seeding was 92% complete statewide, 13 percentage points ahead of last year but only 3 percentage points behind the 5-year average. Also on May 11, the survey showed 65% of the state's oat acreage had emerged, ahead of last year's 42%, but 12 percentage points behind average.
Back on schedule thanks to a week of good weather, 70% of the expected corn acreage for 2014 was planted as of May 11, which is 8 days ahead of last year and equal to the normal pace. Corn was slow to emerge last week with only 9% of the acreage emerged, 20 percentage points less than average. Soybean planting was 20% complete as of May 11, advancing 19 percentage points from the previous week and only 2 days behind normal.
Pasture condition is rated 6% very poor, 12% poor, 40% fair, 35% good and 7% excellent. More livestock have been moved onto pastures across the state.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—For week ended May 11, 2014
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past reporting week brought drier and warmer weather to Iowa. The week began with cool conditions on Sunday (May 4) with highs in the mid-50s north to low-70s southwest while light showers fell across the northeast one-third of the state.
Monday (May 5) and Tuesday (May 6) were dry and warmer with highs in the mid to upper 60s northeast with mid-70s to low-80s southwest. Wednesday (May 7) and Thursday (May 8) were much warmer with highs in the mid-70s north to mid-90s southwest on Wednesday and low 80s south on Thursday. Clarinda, Shenandoah and Sidney all reached 97 degrees on Wednesday afternoon, the first time the 90 degree mark has been reached this year in the state.
Statewide average for rainfall this past week was one-third of normal
Thunderstorms were scattered across mostly northwest Iowa on Wednesday and statewide on Thursday. Friday (May 9) was dry with a brief cool-down into Saturday (May 10) morning when Elkader dipped to 32 degrees. Saturday afternoon temperatures warmed to the mid-60s north central to mid-80s southwest. Scattered thunderstorms returned on Saturday, mostly across the northwest one-half of the state.
Precipitation totals for the week varied from only sprinkles at several southeast Iowa locations such as Fairfield and Keosauqua while Cresco in northeast Iowa reported the most rain with 1.86 inches (all falling on Thursday). The statewide average precipitation was 0.31 inches or about one-third the weekly normal of 0.99 inches. Substantial precipitation fell on Sunday (May 11) just after the cut-off for the week's report and these rainfall amounts will be included in next week's summary. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged near normal near the Minnesota border to six degrees above normal over the southwest part of Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 3.2 degrees above normal for the week ending May 11, 2014.