ISA Newsroom

Agricultural news farmers want to know.

Speedy start to soybean sowing

Article cover photo
Marty Danzer, an ISA member from Carroll, fills his planter with soybeans while working in the field last week. Danzer, like many other farmers across the state, has a majority of his crops planted. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

By Bethany Baratta, ISA senior writer

Recent dry weather has allowed Iowa farmers to plant their soybeans at a record pace.

Forty-six percent of the state’s expected soybean crop has been planted, a full month ahead of last year and over two weeks ahead of the five-year average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS). This is the highest proportion of the soybean crop planted by May 3 since records began in 1974.

Farmers were able to plant over one-third of the expected soybean crop during the week ending May 3.

Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) member Marty Danzer finished planting soybeans and corn well ahead of schedule.

“Drier weather allowed us to plant in some typically wet spots that we haven’t been able to plant in for 3 years,” said the ISA District 4 Director who farms near Carroll.

Soil conditions were fit for planting, Danzer said, albeit dusty. Forecasted showers could provide some much-needed relief.

“We’re in good enough shape that things will germinate,” Danzer said. “It’s just going to take a little bit of moisture to keep things going.”

Marty Danzer plants soybeans in a field near Carroll. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Iowa farmers planted 39%of the expected corn crop during the week ending May 3. Iowa farmers had 78% of the corn crop planted by May 3, the NASS report said. This is the first time since 2010 that at least three-quarters of the corn crop has been in the ground by May 3, according to production records.

ISA President Tim Bardole took full advantage of the weather to finish planting corn. He expected to finish the remaining 80 acres of soybeans once the rain cleared.

“There aren’t very many unplanted fields around here,” said the ISA member from Rippey.

Corn planting was right on schedule, he said. Soybean planting was a few weeks ahead of a typical year.

“With the last few years being wet and delaying planting, everybody hit it hard when conditions were decent,” he said.

Here’s what ISA members from around the state are saying:

Andrew Lauver, Rockwell City: We have finished corn and soybean planting. The corn is starting to emerge, and the soybeans should be up soon, too. The soil conditions remain slightly dry. We were so pleased to have such a nice planting window, but now would be blessed to have a soaking inch of rain.  

Karen and Bret Seipold, Hastings: We finished soybean planting earlier this week before getting back into the fields to start planting corn. This was our first year planting soybeans first.

Keith Lovrien, Clarksville: Three weeks of minimal rain allowed me to start and finish our corn and soybean plantings. Finished planting corn on April 27, the same day I got started planting last year.  I had really good field conditions across all my practices: some no-till corn, some mulch-till corn (just field cultivate bean stubble ahead of corn), and some corn on corn. I started soybean planting on April 26 and finished May 1. I had really good conditions for planting beans, which are all no-till.

Sam Showalter, Hampton: Our family finished planting corn on April 25, and followed that up by finishing beans the following day, April 26. It's not very often we get everything planted in ideal conditions, all in an 8-day window in April. Even with a lack of soil moisture, we are starting to see a lot of corn spiking through the ground, and we expect beans to follow suit in the coming days. Given the timeliness of this planting season we now get to perform the always enviable task of picking up rocks. This is something that has gotten slightly overlooked over the past couple years due to wet conditions and a prolonged planting season. So far, we look to grow a beautiful crop in 2020 — now we just need prices to follow suit. 

Curt Sindergard, Rolfe: This is the first time in my 43 years of farming that we completed planting corn and soybeans in April.  We definitely have the advantage of a longer growing season this year; we finished planting corn and soybeans at the beginning of June last year.  Early planted corn and soybeans are emerging. Weed control looks to be very good.

Never miss a story — validate or activate your ISA membership today.

Contact Bethany Baratta at

For media inquiries, permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at © 2020 Iowa Soybean Association. All rights reserved.