After a quick planting season across Iowa and parts of Missouri and Illinois, work in fields halted with late May rains. The delays are not enough to cause concern for any post-planting work quite yet, but with spraying and side dressing needing to get done in many fields, it could create a time crunch.
Bob Sobolik, who works in the agronomy department for Five Star Cooperative in northern Iowa, said nearly three-fourths of the area they service does side dressing, and despite some early anhydrous applications, they expect everyone is ready to put their nitrogen on quickly.
“One benefit to not having side dressing done ahead of this rain is we didn’t lose the nitrogen we put out ahead of it,” Sobolik said. “The corn that was planted early is in that V3 stage right now so it’s developing a root system now, so this is the time we’d start side dressing.”
One issue for farmers if they aren’t able to get into fields quickly is being able to spray post-emerge herbicides in time, which could create weed issues for waterhemp and ragweed.
He said farmers would normally be deep into post-emerge spraying, but nothing has started yet.
Some soybeans had been in the ground for at least a month at the end of May, and those farmers might run out of time to spray based on the seed and herbicide labels, Sobolik said.
“We haven’t turned a wheel,” he said. “With the forecast not turning real dry here, that has me a little concerned.”
Dave Coppess, with Heartland Co-op based out of Des Moines, said the rains that came through Iowa in mid-May after much of the planting was done have definitely slowed his group’s progress as well, but added it’s now up to Mother Nature for a lot of farmers.
“We are just like everyone else and waiting for the fields to dry out,” he said.
Further south, Curt Mottet with the Farmers Coop Association in southeast Iowa said a forecasted warm spell will be nice to get rolling in fields again.
Both Mottet and Sobolik expect business to stay staus quo for post-planting work but know farmers are looking to save money during times of low commodity prices.
“They definitely aren’t throwing extra money out there pushing yields because of the way grain prices are and the outlook on everything,” Mottet said.
The effort to improve the bottom line makes sense, but Sobolik said that could add to weed or yield problems.
“We do have some guys who skipped on pre-emerge and were planning on coming in just doing a one-pass post-emerge to clean up some things,” Sobolik said. “Of course, those fields are starting to look pretty weedy, so the longer it takes to get them sprayed, obviously there’s weed competition for yield.”
Mottet said for his area, he hopes to be wrapped up with side dressing by the middle of June, with any spraying done by the start of July.