Rainfall halts planting activity, farmers concerned about flooding

Eighty-five percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted

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March 28, 2014 | 3:53 pm

Dry conditions early last week allowed Iowa farmers to make some progress planting their corn and soybean crops, but rainfall late in the week halted field work and left standing water in many fields.

Statewide there was an average of 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week that ended on Sunday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The number of days suitable for field work ranged widely from less than a day in north central Iowa to four days in the southeast area of the state.

Eighty-five percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted, behind the five-year average of 98 percent. Fifty-four percent of the state’s corn crop has emerged, well behind last year’s 93 percent, and the normal 81 percent.

Soybean planting is 40 percent complete, behind last year’s 95 percent and the five-year average of 83 percent. Eight percent of the soybean crop has emerged.

"The wet weather continues to slow planting progress as farmers remain well behind the five-year average for both corn and soybean planting progress," said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "It will likely take several days of dry weather for fields to dry enough for farmers to resume planting."

Flooding and erosion is reported in many areas of Iowa. Farmers are concerned about standing water in fields after the rainfall received over the weekend.

Topsoil moisture levels were rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 45 percent adequate and 54 percent surplus. It marks the highest surplus rating for topsoil moisture conditions since June 2010.

Subsoil moisture levels were rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 29 percent surplus.

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 47 percent good and 14 percent excellent. Some pastures along streams and rivers are flooded due to the recent rains.

Hay prices continue to set records.

A load of 230 relative feed value large square bales sold Wednesday for $405 per ton at Dyersville Sales where demand was rated excellent. New crop in large square bales of alfalfa sold for $345 per ton and new crop large square bales of  grass sold for $300 per ton.

At the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, third crop of big square bales topped out at $415 per ton. Nearly half of the hay sold on Wednesday was above $300 per ton.

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