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Planting progress surges ahead in Iowa, lags in other states

Article cover photo
Dry, warm weather helped farmers get caught up on fieldwork and planting progress is now ahead of the five-year average. (Photo: Joseph Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Matthew Wilde, ISA senior writer

Iowa farmers made up for lost time last week planting about one-third of expected soybean and corn acres, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report.

Dry and warm weather for most of last week — 4.5 days were suitable for fieldwork, on average, the report said — allowed planters to roll almost nonstop and aided in crop emergence. For the first time this spring, planting progress is now ahead of the five-year average.

The same can’t be said for other parts of Corn Belt. Persistent, heavy rains in portions of Illinois, Tennessee, Missouri and other states have delayed planting, drowned out crops and may prevent planting.

Rolland Schnell of Newton, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) president, dropped his last soybean seed in the ground Tuesday.

“The whole soybean planting season went really well for us,” Schnell said. “Corn is emerging well after a cold and wet stretch. I feel really fortunate compared to other parts of the state and Midwest.”

Forty percent of the 10.1 million acres of soybeans Iowa farmers intend to plant were in the ground as of Sunday, according to the report. That’s one day behind last year, but two days ahead of average.

Corn planting statewide is 85 percent complete as of Sunday, the report said. That’s two days behind last year and four days ahead of normal. Twenty-eight percent of the projected 13.3 million acres of corn has emerged, which is six days behind last year and 3 days behind average.

ISA Board member Pat Swanson of Ottumwa is done planting corn but is waiting on parent seed from South America to finish beans.

“Earlier-planted corn is up but some of the more recent-planted seed is struggling to emerge. Our earlier soybeans are emerging nicely,” she said.

Farmers in south central Iowa are having the toughest time statewide getting corn and soybeans in the ground with only 63 percent and 25 percent, respectively, planted. Central Iowa leads the way with 93 percent of corn and 55 percent of beans finished.

Nationally, soybean planting is on pace with the five-year average at 32 percent as of Sunday, according to the report. Corn planting is 71 percent finished nationwide, 1 percent better than normal.

However, wet weather and flooding is impacting parts of the eastern and southern Corn Belt and a late winter storm hurt the Southern Plains. In Tennessee and Ohio, soybean planting is only 19 percent compete, according to government estimates.

“I’m concerned about my brothers and sisters farming in other states. They’ve been washing away — literally,” Schnell said.

Weather woes, while devastating for those affected, aren’t widespread enough to sway the market yet. Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities, Inc. in West Des Moines, said large domestic and international grain supplies can more than offset potential new-crop losses at this point.

The May USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report pegs U.S. soybean carryout at 435 million bushels this marketing year and 480 million next year — albeit excellent demand. Corn ending stocks this year are forecasted at nearly 2.3 billion bushels and 2.1 billion in 2017/18.

A significant price rally isn’t likely in the near future, Roose said.

“There’s a big cushion and it’s the fringe areas that are having the most issues. We would have to see a lot more weather problems and chew through these big supplies,” he added.

Here’s planting and crop progress reports from ISA members:

  • Kellie Gregorich: “In Jones County we finished corn yesterday (May 14) and started beans today. Things have been going smoothly and we've been moving right along. We’re making some great feed for our cattle off our cover crop today as well.”
  • Nicole Yoder: “(On Monday) We were finally able to get back in down here in Decatur County after having almost 3 inches of rain early last week (2 inches in a half hour last Wednesday). We're putting in both crops now. We've been running hard since Friday night and should finish up by the weekend if we're able to avoid rain. “
  • Patrick White: “Finishing up planting in Clay County near Spencer today (May 14). Currently planting beans into 18-inch cereal rye cover crop that was sprayed yesterday. Looking great so far. Stay safe out there.”
  • Jim Fitkin: “In northwest Black Hawk County we have corn all planted and up. All pre-emerge herbicide is on and ready to start beans tomorrow (May 15).”
  • Curt Sindergard: “(As of Monday) we have been done with corn for about a week. The early planted corn is all emerged and looking great. Again, cold and wet did not affect it. We were not able to start beans until Friday due to wet conditions. Everything was going great until a quick thunderstorm came through and dumped about a half-inch of rain in 10 minutes. A neighbor's beans planted a week ago are already emerging.”

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at aputze@iasoybeans.com.

©2017 Iowa Soybean Association On-Farm Network®. All rights reserved. On-Farm Network® is a registered trademark of the Iowa Soybean Association, Ankeny, IA.Portions of some On-Farm Network trials are paid for in total or in part by the soybean checkoff.

Iowa Soybean Association | On-Farm Network | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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March 2017 Contact Ann Clinton for past publications.