WAVERLY, Iowa — Most farmers know farming isn’t a typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, and Bremer County, Iowa, farmer Mark Mueller has embraced the long hours, especially during this rainy planting season.
“I planted Saturday and Sunday (May 4 and 5), literally right through the night,” Mueller said. “I slept for about a half hour in the tractor cab, which is not very good sleeping. It ensured I did not sleep late, though. I got about 250 acres planted.”
Once he finished that field he moved to another, and right as he got started with planting, the rains came back.
As of May 8, the Northeast Iowa farmer said he had planted about 25% of his corn ground, noting that some of his ground is for silage which gives him a little more leeway in the timing of it.
With the excess rain, he said being a no-till farmer may have helped him this year as moisture moves through the soil better.
“I believe that’s why I was able to get out and plant,” he said. “I’m still behind the eight ball like everyone else here. If we get a dry spell, maybe I can finish my corn for grain by May 15.”
Mueller was planning on going corn-heavy this year in his rotation, anticipating around a 70/30 split on his acres. However, with the delays in planting, he is thinking he might have to alter those plans.
“If I can’t get back in the field in a timely manner, I have a few fields I haven’t put anhydrous on yet and I’ll switch over to soybeans, but I really don’t want to do that,” he said.
In some fields, Mueller said he opted to focus on planting rather than anhydrous, with the goal of side-dressing the field later in the season.
If luck wins out, he said he may even adjust toward more corn.
“If it’s May 15, and I have all my corn for grain planted, I will probably take one of my soybean fields and turn that into corn too,” Mueller said. “I want to get corn in this year, but I don’t think I’m going to get that lucky.”