USDA Iowa Crop Report: Farmers have 40% of intended corn acres planted

USDA Iowa Crop Report: Farmers have 40% of intended corn acres planted

Survey for week ending April 24 shows good progress on corn planting; soybean planting has just begun.

The weather continued to be ideal in much of the state and farmers were able to get 40% of Iowa’s anticipated corn acres planted for 2016, before getting stalled by rains last week. That’s according to USDA’s statewide survey for the week ending April 24. 

Related: Farmers planted 13% of state's corn last week (Iowa Crop Report for week of April 20)

PLANTING INTO COVER CROP: Due to the popularity of cover crops seeded in the fall for soil conservation, more Iowa farmers are planting corn into covers this spring. No-tiller Steve Berger planted corn into this 14-inch tall cereal rye April 23, the day after he sprayed the rye with glyphosate and 2.4-D.

“While corn planting is well underway, soybean planting in Iowa has just begun,” notes Greg Thessen, director of the Iowa office of USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, which conducts the survey. Iowa corn acreage is 40% planted as of April 24, about 6 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the 5-year average. Farmers in north central, central and southeast Iowa have already planted over half their corn crop.

This spring Iowa has had some nice days to plant corn early
“It’s a nice day to plant corn,” observed Steve Berger, a no-tiller and cover farmer in Washington County in southeast Iowa. He sent that message to Wallaces Farmer on Saturday April 23, along with the accompanying photo showing the 14-inch tall cereal rye cover crop he was planting corn into that day. The rye had been sprayed with a tankmix of glyphosate and 2,4-D on Friday—the day before he planted corn into it. “I’ll come back in and spray a pre-emergence herbicide in about a week,” said Berger.

Also as of April 23, “we are about two-thirds done planting corn in our farming  operation,” Berger reported. “We had a small thunderstorm on Thursday afternoon that kept us out of the field for a day and a half.” Weather records for the area where Berger farms is running 1.14 inches below normal in rainfall for April.

Plant corn a little deeper than usual, if planting into cover crop
“We’ve had good soil moisture this spring, to plant the corn into,” says Berger. “But I’m setting it a notch deeper for corn planted into rye—the planter is set to plant at 2 to 2.25 inches deep this spring for planting corn into the cover crop.”  

Berger added this comment on April 23: “Some soybeans are already going into the ground here in the Washington County area. We intend to start planting beans on our farm April 27 or 28—if the weather allows us to do so.”

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here.

Rain slowed planting progress in much of Iowa last week
CROP REPORT: Rain slowed crop planting progress in much of Iowa during the week ending April 24, 2016, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide in Iowa, there were 3.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Other activities for the week included tillage, anhydrous applications, and planting preparations.

Topsoil moisture levels as of April 24 rated zero percent very short, 5% short, 89% adequate and 6% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated zero percent very short, 3% short, 90% adequate and 7% surplus.

Iowa corn planting is running 11 days ahead of 5-year average
As of April 24, Iowa’s corn planting was 40% complete, 6 days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the 5-year average. Farmers in north central, central and southeast Iowa have already planted over half their corn crop. Also, 92% of the state’s oat crop has been planted, one week ahead of last year and more than 2 weeks ahead of average. The percentage of the 2016 oat crop that has emerged reached 40%, moving ahead of average for the first time this year. There were scattered reports of some soybeans being planted in Iowa last week.

Pasture condition is rated 61% good to excellent. Pastures are described as green and growing this spring. Livestock conditions were reported as good, although some feedlots were back to muddy conditions due to the rain.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending April 24, 2016
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

A very slow moving storm system brought rain to far western Iowa on Sunday (April 17) night and finally exited the state on Thursday (April 21) afternoon. Heaviest rains with this system fell over far western Iowa, particularly on Wednesday (April 20). Dry weather prevailed statewide on Friday (April 22) and Saturday (April 23) before showers and storms moved into western Iowa Sunday (April 24) morning.

Related: Are your soils ready for corn planting? (Iowa Crop Report for week of April 11)

Thunderstorms also redeveloped over the west one-half of Iowa late Sunday afternoon and evening, a few of which brought hail and high winds. However, this last round of storms came too late to be reflected in this reporting week’s statistics.

Warm soil temps have allowed early corn planting this spring
Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.05 inches at Marion to 3.88 inches at Kennebec in Monona County. There was a statewide average of 1.07 inches of rain for the week, slightly above the normal for the period of 0.89 inches. Monday (April 18) was the warmest day of the reporting week across eastern Iowa and Sunday (April 24) was the warmest over the west. In between these two very warm days, the remainder of the week brought temperatures near to slightly above seasonal normals.

Temperature extremes for the week varied from highs of 83 degrees at Muscatine on Monday (April 18) and 84 degrees at Glenwood on Sunday (April 24) while Mason City recorded the lowest temperature at 35 degrees on Saturday (April 23) morning. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 6.1 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth were mostly averaging in the upper fifties across Iowa as of Sunday (April 24).

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