Much progress was made this week planting corn. A few acres of soybeans also went in the ground. A light morning shower May 17 kept everyone out of the fields. But by mid-afternoon planters were rolling again.
The earliest-planted oats with alfalfa fields have emerged and stands look good. There have been continued new alfalfa seedings as farmers assess current alfalfa condition and decide to abandon existing stands. Those surrounding alfalfa fields I remember as new seedings this past year, survived this past winter’s conditions the best.
Virtually all the area’s potato acres have been planted. In the earliest-planted fields the plants are just breaking the soil-surface crust, indicating emergence. That’s referred to as “cracking.” At that stage growers make another field pass applying fertilizer and doing additional hilling. Vegetable growers have started planting sweet corn and green peas. Some are ready to start planting snap beans.
The water levels remain high this spring. Some of the area’s potholes, that normally hold water for most of the summer, have surrounding trees with 2 feet of water up the trunk. In cases with a nearby fence, only the tops of the fence posts are visible above the water. I’ve noticed more tractors mired along the edge of fields bordering wetlands as farmers try to claim those acres they’ve farmed in previous years.
A recent series of sunny days with temperatures in the mid-70s to upper-70s would normally promote quick germination and emergence. I checked our earliest-planted corn and soybean fields; nothing has emerged yet. The coming week’s forecast is for cooler, more-normal temperatures, with rain. The continuous widespread rains throughout the Upper Midwest are finally earning Chicago’s attention; corn prices rallied nicely this past week from delayed plantings.