Spencer surrounding area back to normal for corn planting

Friday, May 3, 2013
Paul Kassel, ISU Extenion field agronomist, expressed a measured optimism about spring planting conditions, noting that soil moisure in the Spencer area has returned to normal. However, too much moisture could force a re-planting. With corn-planting dates pushed back to May 20-25, corn yields may be lower as well.

The recent rain and snowfall has helped pull northwest Iowa out of the danger zone in terms of drought conditions, but it has put the planting schedule behind by close to two weeks.

"We're probably a week and a half behind, we've maybe had three days of field work so far," Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist Paul Kassel said. "Its similar to 1993 and '94 with the record slow corn planting pace."

The drought that has affected Iowa started during July in 2011, where some areas had 15- to 20-inch deficits, according to Kassel. Recent rainfall, since April 9, has nearly brought the surrounding Spencer area back to normal.

But all of the moisture from the infrequent snow and weather could affect the planting season. Too much moisture could result in the seed not taking root, which could lead to farmers having to re-plant their fields.

"After this weekend it should be better, and people should be prepared to plant next week," Kassel said.

As of now, the plant date for corn has been pushed back to May 20-25. Even though it is at the end of the month, the crops could "still be quite successful, but there is some yield potential," Kassel said.

"There's such a huge corn demand, that these last couple of crops were reduced. With the date pushed back, the corn crop could be smaller," Kassel said. "Locally we don't have a huge concern, but nationally some areas could reduce [their crops]."

Since the corn planting date has been pushed back, the soybean date has been moved as well. There is a lost yield potential with soybean crops as well.

"Hopefully we don't come to planting them in June," Kassel said.

In places around Spencer, it varies as to what has been planted so far. According to Kassel, there is more corn planted towards Everly, but there are some farmers who "haven't done a thing," it just "varies" depending on where the fields are.

"For the most part, farmers are glad to see the rain. Pretty much we're back to regular spring soil. Moisture means good crops and that's good news," Kassel said.

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