(Des Moines) -- After struggling with "historic" delays in planting activities, Iowa farmers finally caught a break last week.
The latest Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report for June 3rd through the 9th showed 93% of the expected corn crop planted--more than two weeks behind last year, and almost three weeks behind the five-year average. Corn condition was rated 58% good to excellent. Nearly a third of the expected soybean crop was planted this past week, with 70% of the expected soybean crop now planted. That's still 17 days behind last year. Thirty-five percent of the crop has emerged, more than two weeks behind last year, as well as the average.
The report indicated dryer weather helped farmers play catch-up on planting, with 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide. It's the first time this season farmers had more than five suitable days in the field. On a recent edition of KMA's "Morning Line" program, Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says farmers were taking advantage of a much-needed break from rainfall.
"We've seen large swaths of the state have those clear skies," said Naig, "and that sunshine and warmer temps is exactly what the doctor ordered. I know we're going to see a lot of progress this week in that report. But, the other challenge we have to be mindful of is that late planted corn and soybeans are typically going to yield less. So, that definitely has an impact on the pocketbook."
Despite the recent stretch of dry weather, Naig says it's still been a challenging spring for producers--especially in southwest Iowa.
"So, of course, we think a lot about, again, Pottawattamie, Mills and Fremont counties, and the flooding," he said. "So, that is very much a concern. Btu, we have had significant rainfall across the state, and that has created historic delays in our planting progress."
Naig, however, adds farmers cope with inclement weather on a yearly basis.
"We have weather challenges each and every year," said Naig. "Sometimes, it's too much water, sometimes it's not enough. We rely on Mother Nature to give us what she gives us--then we have to deal with that. It's always a concern when the crop doesn't get planted quite like you want it to. Some of that can be made up with good weather, and further exacerbated by the bad."
Topsoil moisture across the state was rated at 73% adequate and 26% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 67% adequate and 33% surplus.