Weather conditions were quite favorable this past week allowing Iowa farmers 5.4 days for fieldwork across Iowa allowing for significant planting progress across nearly all of Iowa.
With that said, there are still isolated pockets where soils remain too wet to allow for fieldwork. Frost occurred in NW Iowa on Sunday May 22, with scattered frost in NE Iowa the following day.
Read on to hear what ISU Extension field agronomists are hearing and seeing across the state.
Joel DeJong (Region 1): “Since January 1, most rainfall reports from weather stations in this area show a total on about 3.5” of precipitation for the year. That has allowed this region to be quite timely for planting both corn and soybeans.
“Both are very near completely planted at this time, and almost all the corn, plus maybe 40% of the soybeans have emerged. Since we have had no heavy rainfall to create crusting, emergence has been good. However, some temperatures hit the 30 degree mark early Sunday morning, and there have been reports of corn and soybean frost damage in some of those emerged fields.
“Two ICM Blog articles from past years discuss this topic, including “Assess Frost Injury, Crop Recovery,” from 2021, and “Recovery of Frosted Corn – A Case Study” from 2020. Alfalfa is around 20 inches tall or a little more, nearing the bud stage, with an RFV average on Monday right around 200 in the field. A few alfalfa weevils have been found in the area.”
North Central Iowa
Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “We made significant planting progress this past week in the counties I cover. The Monday crop report shows the NC Iowa Crop Reporting District is at 92% of corn planted and 81% of soybean planted. Emerged corn is VE to V2 and the most mature soybeans I have seen are at V1.
“Rainfall continues to be spotty, ranging from 0.07 to 0.45 inches across the region. I have had several folks comment they are ready for a rain now that most of the crop is planted. The alfalfa field I monitor for Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality (PEAQ) is now 25 inches tall, is at beginning bud, and the relative feed value (RFV) is 176. I continue to find alfalfa weevil larvae in this field when I scout, but at low numbers.
“I am also finding bean leaf beetles in this alfalfa field so scout for this insect in your soybeans as they begin to emerge. The biggest issue of this past week has been concerns about soil crusting and emergence and performance of pre-emergence herbicides with very little rain.”
Terry Basol (Region 4): “This past week’s weather has continued with favorable conditions for corn and soybean planting for farmers in the NC – NE parts of Iowa. In my area, most of the corn has now been planted and soybeans are not too far behind. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) as of May 22, 92 and 77% of the acres have been planted to corn in North Central and Northeast Iowa respectively.
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“The 5-year average for acres planted to corn for the state of Iowa by this time of year is 89% according to NASS. For the early planted fields, you can now start to row the corn as you drive by them, with it ranging from just planted – V1 stage of growth for the area. Soybean acres are estimated to be 81 and 70% planted for North Central and Northeast Iowa respectively, with the 5-yr. state average at 67% at this time of year.
“This is now a good time to start scouting your acres and begin doing stand counts and monitoring emergence to catch any issues early. With the later planting window that we had for the area, the most vulnerable stage of corn (emergence and early vegetative stages) is aligning with the forecasted cutting dates for black cutworm.
“Fields at higher risk for black cutworm injury are those that are poorly drained, low-lying, or have weedy areas. Other higher risk fields include: A) fields where winter annuals or early-spring weeds are emerging, B) those that are near perennial vegetation, C) reduced tillage acres, and D) fields with cover crop.
“For more information on estimated cutting dates, identification and scouting for black cutworm, click here.
“As far as precipitation, according to the Iowa Mesonet, the NE IA Research and Demonstration Farm here at Nashua has received 0.38” of rain for the past week (May 16 – May 23). If the weather continues to cooperate for growers, we should have all of the soybean planted in the area by next week.”
Josh Michel (Region 5): “More planting progress was made throughout the region due to warm temperatures and drier weather. Over the past week, most of region received anywhere from .10 to .25 inches of precipitation, while some areas in Winneshiek County received up to 0.50 inches of precipitation.
“An estimated 75 percent of the corn and 70 percent of the soybeans have been planted. Approximately 95 percent of the oats have been planted. Of those planted, around 80 percent have emerged. Alfalfa fields and pastures continue to grow well due to adequate rainfall and warm temperatures.
“First cuttings of alfalfa have started in areas, with some reports of shorter than normal harvests. Alfalfa weevil larvae continue to be seen in many fields that I visit. Recent field calls and questions have consisted mainly of weed identification and management, corn rootworm management, small grains management, and a few questions about corn and soybean stand assessments.”
Aaron Saeugling (Region 10): “What a difference a week makes. Most of the corn is planted in Southwest Iowa, with the earlier planted corn emerging. Early corn is in the V-1 to V-2 stage for the larger corn. Isolated reports of replanting and poor stands from uncooperative spring weather.
“Soybean progress has also picked up this week with an estimate of 60 percent of the beans in the ground. Mixed reports on soybean emergence as well from farmers. Weed control is a big focus with the rapid planting pace sprayers are behind, so weed size is going to be a challenge. Forages are looking better, just simply shorter then desired due to cool and cloudy days.”
Meaghan Anderson (Region7): “Central Iowa farmers took advantage of the (mostly) drier conditions and got a lot of fields planted in the last week. While planting is wrapping up in some fields, others are emerged and we can begin assessing their stands. I’ve seen soybeans in the VC stage and corn as large as V2.
“As crops are emerging, I have noticed some significant crusting issues in some fields; in some cases, the crusting is enough to warrant some reseeding due to stand loss. It is worth doing a quick check on fields after planting to make sure crusting will not be an issue or need some management before crops emerge.
“While this spring feels like a bit of a whirlwind with a shortened timeline, weeds are already emerging out of some PRE applications and crops are going to need POST weed management in no time at all. Phone calls have been about weed management, weed ID, crusting issues, cover crop termination (failures), and pasture management.”
East Central, Southeast, and South Central Iowa
Clarabell Knapp (Region 11): “ Heavier rainfall events took place on Tuesday, May 17th in much of the counties that border Missouri in South Central Iowa. Some locations received up to 2 inches, while the remainder of South Central Iowa received a few tenths, up to half an inch of rainfall. The new moisture slowed field work down for a day or two in most areas, only to rear back up and be at full force by the end of the week.
“Great progress was made on the number of acres that have been planted for both corn and soybeans. For both crops, many fields are emerging well. Hay and alfalfa crops, as well as pastures, are putting on quick growth with the steady moisture and warm temperatures we have recently experienced. Field calls have pertained mainly to herbicide selections for crop ground and weed identification.”