Regional Update: April 25 – May 3, 2022

May 3, 2022 9:42 PM
Blog Post

It has been a slow start to the 2022 growing season with minimal fieldwork and planting done across the state. According to the USDA-NASS May 2 Crop Progress and Condition Report, only 9% of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted, with most of the planting that has been done being in the western part of the state where they have been drier. Read on to see what ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists are hearing and seeing across the state.

Northwest Iowa

Joel DeJong (Region 1): “ We have been missing most of the rainfall much of the rest of the state has received, until late last week. We are out of the field now, but quite a bit of fieldwork occurred in the NW corner last week. Some neighborhoods have a lot of corn planted; others have barely started. I would guess that we might have 35% of the corn in the ground – maybe more, and 10-15% of the beans. Some started with beans due to the cooler soil temperatures. Late week soil temperatures over 50 degrees triggered more planting. However, it still remains well below 50 degrees at the 4-inch depth as you near the Minnesota border. Soil conditions were quite good – soil temps were the worry. Balancing good soil conditions with cool temps, versus waiting with multiple rainfall chances, was the topic of many discussions.”

Gentry Sorenson (Region 2): “Planting progress has been slowed by cool soil conditions, rainfall, and cold weather. Rainfall amounts were variable across the area, but all of my counties received rainfall over the past seven days. Soil temperatures early last week were in the low 40’s at the 4-inch soil depth, slowing planting progress. Storms moved through the area last week and farmers dealt with moist soil conditions, keeping many from planting and field work. Growers in the eastern part of my area started tillage operations early last week before the rain, and a few isolated fields were planted.  In the western part of my area, growers were able to start field work if they missed the rainfall in the early part of the week. Questions from the field last week were regarding soil temperatures and questions about planting conditions for soybeans and corn.”

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “From April 24 through May 2, NC Iowa has received anywhere from 1.63 inches of rain at Eldora to 2.67 at Mason City (does not include Tuesday, May 3 when more rain was received). Cold soil temperatures kept most people from planting in mid-April and now soils are wet with continued rain forecasted for this week. Corn and beans have been planted in the southern counties I cover, but planting is spotty. Some farmers started planting and stopped over concerns with rain and cooler temperatures persisting and many have yet to start. I have been catching both black cutworms and true armyworms in my traps at Story City and located north of Jewell. I have yet to find any alfalfa weevils and growth of alfalfa and pastures has been slow. The cereal rye cover crops are looking good and finally getting some height. I am still receiving phone calls regarding fertilizer needs.”  

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Cold and wet conditions have been predominating our spring planting season here in NC/NE Iowa in the last few weeks. Because of this, our corn acres are less than 5% planted as of May 1, according to the USDA-NASS May 2 Crop Progress and Condition Report. Cold soil conditions have accompanied the moisture, and currently as of this writing, the area’s 4-inch depth soil temperatures range from 45 -49 F. (For optimum planting conditions, we want to see soil temps at 500F and a forecast of increasing temperatures). As far as precipitation, according to the Iowa Mesonet, the NE IA Research and Demonstration Farm here at Nashua has received 4.3 inches of rain for the month of April, which equates to 0.62 inches above average. On the flip side, this has helped to greatly diminish the drought conditions in the area that extended from the 2021 growing season according to the U.S. drought monitor, check out the most recent map here. Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we’ll start seeing the weather patterns start shifting to warmer and drier conditions to allow farmers the ability to get everything planted.”

Josh Michel (Region 5): “Cool and wet conditions have limited any significant field work and planting throughout most of the region. Despite these conditions, I’d estimate that around 45 to 50 percent of the oats have been planted. Over the past two weeks most of the area has received 1 to 3 inches of rainfall, with the heaviest amounts in Delaware and Dubuque counties. Soil temperatures continue to remain below 50 degrees. Alfalfa fields and pastures are greening up, but growth remains slow due to cooler than normal temperatures. Recent field calls have consisted of cover crop termination, weed identification and management, pasture improvements, and questions about planting small grains.”


No-till field with henbit. Photo courtesy of Josh Michel. 

Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson (Region 7): “Central Iowa has turned a complete 180 from last spring’s weather this spring with our cold and wet conditions. We are running approximately 50-60% of normal for growing degree day (GDD) accumulation since April 1 and above normal for rainfall for the past several weeks. While we’re delayed getting much fieldwork done, weeds have been up for several weeks and I’ve spotted giant ragweed, marestail, and common lambsquarters in fields already. In addition, biennials in pastures have greened up and will soon be bolting when the weather warms up; this week is a good time to treat those with herbicide. While a few corn and soybean fields have been planted already (USDA-NASS estimates ~7% of corn), we’ve still got a window to get both corn and soybean planted for optimum yield potential in central Iowa. With the shortened timeline to get fieldwork done, it is still important to prioritize herbicide applications to get a PRE on as close to planting as possible. For crops already planted, keep an eye out for emergence and beware of potential issues with cold, seed and seedling disease, and insect pests with these stands.”


Soybean planted on April 12 starting to germinate. Photo taken on April 27. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Anderson.


The cooler temperatures haven't stopped giant ragweed from starting to germinate and grow this spring. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Anderson. 

Southwest Iowa:

Aaron Saeugling (Region 10): “ With the cooler than normal spring, planting progress has been slower than normal here in SW Iowa.  Last week allowed a few planters to get rolling in some counties, with farmers starting to plant both corn and soybeans. Soil conditions in some areas were dry, and planting conditions were good prior to last week’s rain events. Most fertilizer applications are complete. Spraying conditions have been less than ideal in most cases. There have been very few warm and wind free days, making spraying the biggest challenge for retailers and farmers. Pasture growth has been extremely slow and is causing increased feed cost for cow-calf producers. With a wet and cool forecast this week, little field activity is expected. It’s looking like 2022 will be the opposite of 2021 for planting date for most producers. When fields do allow field activity, I would place the priority on spraying, corn planting, and soybean planting (in that order). Research shows the optimum planting window for 95% yield potential in corn is prior to May 13 in SW Iowa.”

East Central, Southeast, and South Central Iowa:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “It’s been a slow go for field work and planting this spring. While a few started planting (corn and/or beans), most have not yet started due to conditions not being fit (wet and cold). The cooler, wetter, and windier conditions have really limited field activities and made it a challenge to get burndown herbicides applied. The weather conditions have also really limited forage and cover crop growth this spring. However, the winter annual weeds, like henbit, seem to be doing well, especially in some no-till fields. Most calls have been on concerns with limited forage growth, weed ID, cover crop termination, burndown herbicide applications (planting internal), and planting considerations. With the rain (Monday into Tuesday) and the forecast for the rest of the week, there will be minimal field activity seen the rest of this week.”


With the cooler conditions, forages growth has been pretty limited this spring. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Vittetoe. 

Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “Rainfall since April 1 in the counties I cover ranged from about 2.5 inches to over 6 inches, which those totals rang from about 2 inches below normal to 2 inches above normal. It’s been a cool start to the growing season with temperatures since April 1 being 1 to 4 degrees below normal. Corn planting began last week on Tuesday, often in less-than-ideal soil conditions. A few are done planting corn, while many have not yet started. In some areas it is hard to find a field of soybean stubble that has not been planted and then a few miles away, it is hard to find a field of soybean stubble that has been planted. There is concern about not being able to complete planting in the ideal date range, which ends about May 15. People who planted last week are hoping that losses due to poor soil conditions are less than losses due to late planting. A few people also started planting soybeans last week. Growth of forages has been very slow this spring with the colder temperatures. Dandelions, members of the mustard family, chickweed species, henbit, and purple deadnettle are blooming. Calls recently have mostly involved application of burndown herbicides on cover crops and no-till fields in cooler-than-ideal weather, deciding whether to plant or wait, slow forage growth (mostly wondering if the fall armyworms last fall are to blame), and concerns and/or frustrations from some individuals who have not yet received their new pesticide applicator certificate and cannot purchase or apply the herbicides they need.”


Rainfall depature from normal for the month of April 2022. Source: https://mrcc.purdue.edu/CLIMATE/Maps/stnMap_btd2.jsp.

Clarabell Probasco (Region 11): “Over the past few weeks, South-Central Iowa has received 1.5-2 inches of rainfall. This moisture combined with the cooler temperatures that have kept soil temperatures lower, around 50 degrees, has kept it difficult to find good windows to get into the field with equipment. Pastures are continuing to green up and grow, although growth has been slowed from the cool temperatures. With the future forecast, it looks to continue with more rainfall, keeping soil moisture levels up."

Check out the map below to find your local ISU Extension field agronomist and find their contact information here!

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Rebecca Vittetoe Field Agronomist in EC Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe is an extension field agronomist in east central Iowa. Educational programs are available for farmers, agribusiness, pesticide applicators, and certified crop advisors.

Areas of expertise include agronomy, field crop production and management of corn, soybeans, and...