Corn and soybean planting is mostly finished in Iowa

By: - May 22, 2023 4:20 pm

About 65% of Iowa’s corn crop has emerged from the ground. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

About 95% of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted, well ahead of the five-year average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Damp conditions early last week eventually gave way to warmer and drier weather, which allowed many farmers across the state to wrap up planting,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary.

Corn planting is about 12 days ahead of recent years, the USDA said, and about 65% of the crop has emerged. Soybeans are also ahead of schedule: About 84% of the crop has been planted, which is about two weeks quicker than what is normally expected.

“We have some fairly sizeable corn and a lot of pretty good looking soybeans out there already,” said Meaghan Anderson, an Iowa State University Extension field agronomist who monitors central Iowa.

A quarter of the state is still in some degree of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. However, that is expected to be mitigated in the coming months by a switch to an El Nino weather pattern.

About 75% of the state’s topsoil has adequate or surplus moisture for growing crops, the USDA said on Monday. That is down from 83% the week before.

Last week was relatively bereft of rainfall, with an average of .29 inches falling across the state, according to State Climatologist Justin Glisan. That is less than a third of what is normally expected.

There were pockets of heavy rain that fell in isolated areas of far southern and far northeastern Iowa. Glisan noted more than 3 inches of rain near Lamoni, while areas of west-central Iowa had none.

Planting progress this year stands in stark contrast to last year, when pervasive rains in April delayed it. Despite that, farmers reaped corn yields that were among the best ever. Most of Iowa’s corn has been planted this year within the optimal window for the best yields.

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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.