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Serving: IA
planter in a field Rod Swoboda
RUNNING AHEAD: Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin now have 80% or more of their corn crop planted.

Iowa has 96% of its corn, 86% of soybeans planted

For both crops, Iowa’s planting progress is about three weeks ahead of the five-year average for mid-May.

The latest weekly statewide survey shows Iowa has nearly completed corn planting for 2020, and only has 15% of the soybean crop yet to plant. The Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released yesterday shows farmers in Iowa had 96% of their intended corn acres planted as of May 17 and 86% of the soybeans are in the ground.

Late last week, a portion of Iowa was deemed “abnormally dry” by the U.S. Drought Monitor. “Much of the state experienced cooler temperatures and rain over the weekend, which helped mitigate dryness concerns and the impact on emerging corn and soybeans,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Secretary Naig. “With the recent rainfall, and with temperatures expected to warm up later this week, crops should get a boost in the fields.” 

The complete weekly report is available on the USDA’s site at

Iowa crop progress

There were 4.3 days suitable for field work during the week ending May 17, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Windy days made spraying weeds difficult, but planting continued. That is, until most of Iowa began receiving rain in the latter half of the week.
Topsoil moisture for Iowa was rated 2% very short, 7% short, 78% adequate and 13% surplus last week for a statewide average. Subsoil moisture was rated 1% very short, 6% short, 83% adequate and 10% surplus.
With 96% of Iowa’s expected corn crop planted, that’s nearly a month ahead of last year and almost three weeks ahead of the five-year average. Only southwest Iowa has over 10% remaining to be planted. Corn emergence improved to 62% for Iowa as of May 17, almost double that of the previous week.

Iowa’s soybean crop moved to 86% planted, also nearly a month ahead of last year and three weeks ahead of average. Farmers in the northern one-third of Iowa have less than 10% of their soybeans left to plant. One-fourth of the soybean crop has emerged. Seeding of the oat crop is virtually complete, with 91% emerged. Oat condition is rated 80% good-to-excellent.

Hay condition is rated 71% good-to-excellent across Iowa. Pasture condition is rated 62% good-to-excellent. Warmer temperatures would help improve growth in pastures and hay fields. Livestock conditions continue to be good with little to no stress reported.

Weather summary

Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says unseasonably cool conditions persisted across Iowa during the reporting period, though temperatures were not as cold as the previous week. Temperatures were generally 4 to 8 degrees below normal, with the statewide average temperature of 54.4 degrees for the seven-day period ending May 17. That’s 6.1 degrees below normal.

In a welcome change, wetter-than-normal conditions returned across much of Iowa, with near-normal to below-normal soil moisture conditions reported in pockets of western Iowa, Glisan says. Southeast Iowa reported the wettest conditions with up to 3 inches of rain last week in some locations in that part of the state.

Weekly rain totals ranged from 0.16 inch in Sioux City (Woodbury County) to 5.14 inches at Ottumwa Airport (Wapello County). Statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.71 inches, while normal is 1.05 inches. Donnellson (Lee County) and Lamoni (Decatur) reported the week’s high temperature of 81 degrees on May 14 — on average 9 degrees above normal. The town of Stanley (Buchanan County) had the week’s low temperature of 24 degrees on May 12, which was 22 degrees below normal.

U.S. corn crop

The U.S. corn and soybean planting pace also remains way above the five-year averages. As of May 17, the USDA survey shows farmers nationally have 80% of the corn crop in the ground, ahead of a five-year average of 71%. While Iowa leads with 96% of its corn planted, other major corn growing states are also moving along. Minnesota has 95%, Illinois 83%, Indiana 72% and Nebraska 91% of their corn planted. Meanwhile, 43% of the nation’s corn has emerged, versus a 40% five-year average for this date.

USDA says the nation’s soybean planting for 2020 is now 53% complete, versus a 38% five-year average. Illinois has 59% of its beans planted, and Indiana has 56%. Each of these states are well ahead of their average pace. While Iowa is at 86%, Nebraska has 78% of its soybeans planted. Meanwhile, 18% of the U.S. soybean crop has emerged, versus a 12% five-year average.

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