Regional Update: Crop planting and progress for week of April 30 through May 8

May 8, 2018 9:43 AM
Blog Post

#Plant18 continues to progress across the state. According to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report, approximately 40% of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted and 11% of the expected soybean crop. Due to the wet weather across the state last week, #Plant18 and other field activities were put on hold as many farmers only had 2.9 suitable days for fieldwork. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists report planting progress and field conditions in their respected regions.  

Northwest Iowa

Joel DeJong (Region 1): “In the Northwest corner of Iowa we have a mixed planting report. Some neighborhoods, mostly on the south half of the region, are half done planting corn or a little more. Some neighborhoods in the northern counties have as little as 5% done. Very few soybeans have been planted. Well drained fields have been a bonus this year, and those not well drained have been very slow to get started. There is a lot of planting left to be done. Alfalfa seemed to overwinter quite well but is behind normal in growth at this time, as are pastures. Cover crops are finally about 6 inches tall or so, and starting to take off. A longer period of dry weather would be appreciated during the next week or more, although the forecast doesn't look as rosy as that.”

Paul Kassel (Region 2): "Field work has been pretty slow in my area. There was some field work and corn planting on May 1; however, some rainy weather kept farmers out of the field for most of the next week. Field work resumed again on May 6.  However, some fairly widespread rain chased a lot of people out of the field on May 8. There is quite a disparity in field work progress in my area.  The top two tiers of counties – Clay/Dickinson over to Hancock/Winnebago – have been kept out of the field for the most part – except for this past weekend. The area south of highway 3 has had better luck getting in the field.  And farmers in western Sac and Buena Vista county have made really good field work progress – with as much as 75% of their corn crop planted."

A tractor and field cultivator head for a new field in Clay County. Photo by Paul Kassel. 

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “The week of April 30 through May 7 saw field work and planting across the southern end of my area on Monday, April 30, but also included 1.54 inches of rain at Webster City to 3.2 to 3. Inches of rain from Mason City to Hampton. I would estimate 80% of the corn is planted from Hwy 30 to Hwy 20; 60% from Hwy 20 to Hwy 3; 10% from Hwy 3 to Hwy 18; and less than 5% from Hwy 18 to the Minnesota border. Yesterday (May 7), I saw a few folks attempting tillage and planting near Thornton, but only on the high spots. The forecast for the week of May 7 does not look promising in northern Iowa.”  

Southwest and West Central

Mike Witt (Region 11): “West Central Iowa has seen a good run of weather for planting. Corn planting in the area is around 60% done and soybeans around 20%. More acres are planted from west to east across the area as the soils, in general, have dried up faster. Spraying has proven to be a challenge with many fields still waiting for spring applications. Weather this week will probably bring a slowing to progress as more rain is forecasted.”

Southeast and East Central:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Some much needed rain fell across South Central Iowa last week with most areas getting at least 0.5 inch to an inch of rain. I would estimate that approximately 75% of the corn is planted in this part of the state and 30% of the soybeans have been planted. The first planted corn (around April 23) has emerged and is at VE to V1. Pastures and alfalfa fields have been slow at getting much growth this spring, but last week’s rains helped. We are on the dry side here with only having less than half to 25% percent of normal rainfall for the month of April. This part of the state could definitely benefit from some more rain, which there is some in the forecast for this week.”

Corn planted the week of April 23 emerging at the ISU McNay Research Farm in the long-term tillage plots. Photo by: Rebecca Vittetoe. 

Meaghan Anderson (Region 9): “After a beautiful start to field work two weeks ago, we got some well-deserved rain across east central Iowa in the middle of last week. Some reports were as high as 3 inches over several days, mostly in my southern counties. Farmers are just now getting back in the field to continue planting, but the first planted corn from the week of April 23 is now emerging out of the ground. Corn planting is nearly finished in my southern counties and soybean planting varies widely across my counties. Calls in the last week include questions on the timing of residual herbicides and soybean planting, weed identification, alfalfa stand evaluation, and cover crop termination.”

Virgil Schmitt (Region 10): “Corn planting started in earnest on April 23 in my southern counties and was going strong in my northern counties by April 25. Planting continued through May 2 in most places and started again over the week end. We receive anywhere from 0.5 to 2+ inches of rain since Thursday of last week. Corn is 95% or more planted in my southern counties and about 80% complete in my northern counties. Soybean planting is about 25% complete in my southern counties and about 10% in my northern counties. First planted corn is in the VE to V1 stage. Mustards and dandelions are in full bloom.”

Map showing rainfall totals for Iowa over the last week as of May 7, 2018. Source:  

Find your local ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist here!


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...