Iowa farmers finish planting, crop maturity lagging

Hay prices at Fort Atkinson Hay Auction fall

March 29, 2014 | 4:22 am

With warmer and drier weather across most of the state, Iowa's corn and soybean producers have virtually completed planting this year's crop. But maturity remains behind schedule.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported 99 percent of the corn crop in the ground as of Sunday. Ninety-six percent of the corn crop has emerged, about three weeks behind normal.

The warmer weather helped the condition of corn and the good to excellent rating increased 3 percentage points from last week. Corn condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 44 percent good and 13 percent excellent.

Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop has been planted, about two weeks later than normal. Eighty-nine percent of the soybean crop has emerged, which is 8 percent behind the five-year average.

Soybeans also benefited from the warmer weather, with condition ratings improving slightly to 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 45 percent good and 11 percent excellent.

Moisture levels for topsoil and subsoil saw movement from the surplus rating into the adequate rating.

The USDA said topsoil moisture levels were rated 1 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 33 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 2 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus.

Iowa farmers continued to make good progress harvesting alfalfa, and the first cutting stands at 89 percent complete, 2 percent ahead of normal. Hay condition was rated at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 54 percent good and 16 percent excellent.

Pasture and range conditions were rated 4 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 48 percent good and 24 percent excellent.

At Dyersville Sales, the market was sharply lower on June 26 with 873 tons sold. Top on large square bales was $245 per ton and the top on round bales was $150 per ton.

At the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, prices were sharply lower on mostly new crop hay as buyers were heavily discounting any hay that seemed to be, or was, wet. A small amount of last year’s hay sold mostly for over $300 per ton.

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