Iowa corn planting now two weeks behind average

By: - May 9, 2022 4:54 pm

The pace of corn planting in Iowa this year is the slowest in nine years. (Photo via Pixabay)

Farmers eager to plant corn were further delayed this past week by cold and rain and are now two weeks behind the five-year average, according to a Monday report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It’s a crucial time for the corn crop because the optimum planting window is closing, according to Iowa State University research, which shows that yields for much of the state start to decline quickly for corn that is planted after the middle of May.

It’s the slowest planting season for corn in nine years, said Greg Thessen, director of the USDA’s National Statistical Service for the Upper Midwest.

As of Sunday, an estimated 14% of the state’s corn crop was in the ground, the USDA reported. That compares with a five-year average of 63% and last year’s quick pace of 84%.

Farmers had the equivalent of about two days this past week that were suitable for field work, but the weather this week should be more accommodating. There are spotty chances for scattered thunderstorms, the National Weather Service predicts.

“We’re not expecting any sort of widespread soaking rainfall for most of the state,” said Cory Martin, a Weather Service meteorologist.

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Soybean planting is also more than a week behind the five-year average. A total of about 7% of the state’s crop was in the ground on Sunday, compared with the average of 34%.

“A noticeable shift in the cool and wet weather pattern appears to have given farmers a much-needed window for planting this week,” Mike Naig, the state’s secretary of agriculture, said in a press release. “In the days ahead, unseasonably hot temperatures and isolated chances of thunderstorms should allow farmers to make good progress.”

Persistent rains across much of the state and cool temperatures have slowed farmers’ progress in the past few weeks. Last month was among the top 15 coldest Aprils on record.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.

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