Compared to previous years, spring planting was over before many Iowa farmers could blink. However, rain and cool weather put a halt to much work being done to close out May.
“Planting was almost a joyous experience this year,” said Mark Mueller, who farms in Bremer County. “We all got the corn in the ground and it hasn’t warmed up. My agronomist said the corn is coming up so slowly he actually took a couple days off to spend with his family, which never happens this time of year.”
Mueller said after a month in the ground, he would hope to see corn starting to get to the point of being knee high, but said it isn’t even ankle high quite yet on his northeast Iowa farm.
“I could have waited three or four weeks to plant it and it still would be this tall,” he said.
Like Mueller, Iowa State Extension field agronomist Aaron Saeugling said he saw the season start off similar in his area in southweset Iowa. However, with most of the corn and soybeans planted during April, a cold snap in early May could greatly impact how fields will look moving forward. Saeugling said the crop planted in the last week of April is looking slightly better than that earlier planted crop.
Despite that May frost, not much replant has been needed.
“Corn is probably V3 to V6, and beans are in pretty good shape,” Saeugling said. “There’s been some isolated replant areas, but not a lot of replanting.”
Despite the ‘coffee shop talk’ about lack of sunshine recently, Saeugling noted that things should get back to normal soon, but some stands in the area aren’t as even as he would like to see. He called it a “good to above average” crop so far.
Saeugling said his area has already seen some outbreaks of insects, as the alfalfa weevil was “very bad” around southwest Iowa. That has him worried about the potential for more pest problems this season.
“Usually it seems like when we get conditions that are conducive to one insect, we tend to be a little more predisposed to other insect pressure,” Saeugling said. “So that’s a little bit of a concern for us given commodity prices, you know, we want to manage our input costs.”
He also said he would caution farmers against deciding to not use weed control. While Saeugling said he understands the appeal of managing input costs, it might be difficult to absorb the yield hit insect and weed pressure could bring.
The weather has already started turning around for the state as the calendar flipped to June, with thermometers hitting 90 degrees to open the month, and temperatures should hover right around normal for the summer.
Mueller noted that despite the potential for a large crop after early plantings, the weather has to cooperate this summer and fall to allow them to see those results.