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86% of Iowa corn planted, 58% of soybeans86% of Iowa corn planted, 58% of soybeans

USDA May 20 survey shows farmers made major progress last week.

Rod Swoboda 1

May 15, 2018

4 Min Read
PLANTING CORN: Farmers in north-central Iowa planted nearly half of their expected 2018 corn crop this past week, as they’ve been delayed by a very wet spring.

Despite having only 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork last week, Iowa saw significant planting progress, and now 86% of the state’s corn and 58% of the soybeans are in the ground. That’s what USDA’s latest weekly survey shows for the seven-day period ending May 20. The corn estimate is up from 65% the week before, when the state’s planted acreage was estimated on May 13.

“Just in the past week farmers were able to plant 21% of Iowa’s expected 13 million acres of corn and 25% of the nearly 10 million acres of soybeans,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Northwest and north-central Iowa remain behind the rest of the state, but farmers there were able to make significant progress this past week, and now have right at 70% of their corn and over 20% of their soybeans planted.”

The May 20 USDA survey shows 53% of the corn in Iowa has now emerged, one day behind last year.

81% of U.S. corn planted
For the nation, USDA’s latest report shows 81% of the corn crop is now planted. The four-year average is 81%. A year ago the nation was at 82%.

As for soybeans, farmers have more soybeans planted at this point in the 2018 planting season than they have had in the past four years. The crop progress report shows 56% of the U.S. soybeans are now in the ground; that’s up from the four-year average of 44%. In 2017 there was 50% of the soybeans planted at this point.

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Ag & Land Stewardship website at iowaagriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows.

Crop report
Wet field conditions and scattered rains limited Iowa farmers to 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 20, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture rated 2% very short, 5% short, 78% adequate and 15% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 4% very short, 10% short, 74% adequate and 12% surplus. South central Iowa reported the lowest levels of subsoil moisture with over two-thirds short to very short.

Iowa growers have planted 86% of the expected 2018 corn crop, five days behind last year. The north central district planted nearly half of their expected corn crop this past week. Statewide, 53% of the crop has emerged, one day behind last year.

58% of Iowa soybean in ground
Soybean growers have 58% of Iowa’s expected crop planted, two days ahead of the five-year average. One-quarter of this year’s expected soybean crop across Iowa was planted this past week. Northwest and north-central Iowa remain well behind the other districts with less than one-third of their soybean crop planted. The weekly survey shows 18% of Iowa’s soybeans have emerged, two days ahead of last year.

Nearly all of the state’s expected oat crop has been planted, over one week behind last year’s planting progress for oats and four days behind average. The survey notes that 86% of Iowa’s oat crop has emerged, five days behind last year.

Hay conditions improved to 64% good-to-excellent. Pasture conditions also improved, reaching 56% good to excellent. Warmer temperatures and rain have promoted good pasture and hay growth. Overall, livestock conditions are good with little stress, but muddy feedlots continue to be an issue.

Weather summary
According to Michael Timlin, regional climatologist, Midwestern Regional Climate Center, warm weather in Iowa was generally paired with drier conditions, though there were some pockets of wetness during the week ending May 20.

Temperatures climbed into the 80s across the state with average temperatures for the week running 3 to 7 degrees above normal. The warmest areas were along the southern border and the coolest northwest Iowa.

Only the first two days and the last day of the week had high temperatures in the 60s at some locations. In the middle of the week highs were mostly in the upper 70s or 80s. The warmest readings were 88 degrees reported in Keokuk on the May 15 and De Soto on May 17. The coolest readings of 45 degrees were reported at a handful of locations in northern Iowa spread across several days.

Rainfall below normal
Soil temperatures ranged from the upper 50s to the lower 70s during the week in Iowa. Precipitation was generally below normal, and much below normal at many locations.

Areas with less than 25% of normal rainfall stretched across much of the northern third of the state, areas in the southwest and southeast, and some central Iowa locations. Above normal totals were reported in east central Iowa and some scattered locations across the middle of the state.

The driest locations were in northeast Iowa, where Decorah and Cresco had no rain at all. The wettest location was Maquoketa in Jackson County, with 3.61 inches, or about twice normal. The lack of big storms also meant there was little severe weather reported in Iowa. Reports of large hail (1 to 1.75 inches) on the May 14 came from locations in southeast Iowa. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inches) was reported in Linn County and Wayne County on May 14.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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