Iowa farmers plant corn, soybeans in less-than-ideal conditions

94 percent corn crop, 77 percent soybean crop planted

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March 28, 2014 | 4:43 pm

Last week's intermittent rainfall did not provide enough drying of saturated farmland, forcing many Iowa farmers to plant corn and soybeans in less-than-ideal field conditions as they struggled to get this year's crop in the ground.

There were 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork statewide, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. East central and southeast Iowa had the most days suitable for fieldwork, while northwest and north central Iowa had the least amount of suitable days.

Ninety-four percent of Iowa’s corn crop was in the ground as of Sunday, 2 percent higher than last week but normally all corn is planted by this time. Eighty-nine percent of the corn crop has emerged, 10 percent below the five-year average.

Corn condition was reported at 4 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 42 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says some corn probably will not be planted this year.

"With only 94 percent of the corn planted, Iowa has approximately 800,000 acres that farmers had intended to plant to corn that is still not in the ground," Northey said. "At this late date it is likely that some of that 6 percent will not be planted, and that which is planted will see lower yields."

Iowa farmers have planted 77 percent of the soybean crop, up 17 percent from last week, but planting is still lower than the normal 96 percent. Soybeans have emerged on 56 percent of acreage, well behind last year’s 97 percent, and the five-year average of 91 percent.

The soybean crop was rated 4 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 42 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

"It is good to see an improvement in the soybean planting, increasing by seventeen percent to 77 percent planted," Northey said. "Hopefully a significant portion of the beans yet to be planted will get in the ground this week as it is getting late in the season to plant soybeans."

The first cutting of alfalfa hay was 31 percent complete, compared to 100 percent  last year. The second cutting was 27 percent complete as of Sunday.

Farmers were waiting for drier conditions to cut hay, according to the USDA report.

Hay condition was rated at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 52 percent good and 15 percent excellent.

At Dyersville Sales, new crop dry hay in large squares topped at $310 per ton in Wednesday's auction. Round bales of  old crop topped at $260 per ton.

Straw set another record high, with large square selling for $100 per ton.

At the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, most of the better quality hay has been sold. Fourth crop of round bales sold for $300 to $320 per ton.

Three loads of second crop small square bales sold for $300 to $400 per ton at Fort Atkinson. A load of new crop big square bales sold for $350 per ton.

 

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