Regional update: Crops emerging, but wet conditions hold up finishing #plant17

May 23, 2017 12:58 PM
Blog Post

Currently 92% of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted and 62% of the soybean crop according to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report. However, the wet weather across the state has put #Plant17 and other field activities on hold as farmers only had 2.3 suitable days for fieldwork during the week of May 15 through May 21. 

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists report planting progress and field conditions in their respected regions. 

Northwest Iowa

Joel DeJong (Region 1): “This past week little field activity occurred in the NW corner of Iowa. Some locations planted beans for about a day, others didn’t turn a wheel. Corn is in and most is emerged. It looked good a week ago, but hasn’t progressed much since then while getting buffeted with wind and rainstorms. Some hail occurred, but in limited areas. I believe most plants will be fine, just stressed. Soybeans are about two-thirds planted, with maybe 15% emerged. Using PEAQ (Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality) to estimate the relative feed value and determine when to take the first cutting, alfalfa in Plymouth County on Monday measured 30” tall and in the bud stage – for a calculated RFV of 156 as it stood. When the weather clears harvest will begin in earnest for this crop.”

Paul Kassel (Region 2): “We had a really good stretch of weather from May 6 to May 17. The corn is all planted – most of it by May 12. Many farmers have completed soybean planting. However, there is about 25% of the soybean crop yet to be planted. We started getting scattered rain showers on May 15. It finally rained enough on May 16 to keep farmers out of the field. Totally rainfall over my area since May 15 ranges from 2.5 to 4.5 inches. There is water standing and drowned out areas across much of the area. Some of the crop will need replanted. Also, due to the wet weather, farmers are a little behind on herbicide application.  Farmers may have to evaluate their herbicide program on soybeans – and apply a residual herbicide with their first pass of glyphosate.”

Corn field in Clay County emerges after two weeks, 2.5 inches of rain and 180 GDDs. Photo by Paul Kassel.   

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “We had anywhere from 1.85 inches (Eldora) to 3.52 inches (Mason City) of rain between May 14 through May 21. There are fields with ponds and a few smaller creeks with low-land flooding. We had hail on three consecutive nights in various places in North Central Iowa on May 15 through May 17.  I received no phone calls about crop damage as the corn was fairly small and the beans were either not planted or not emerged. Corn is mostly planted and beans are probably 75% planted. With rain in the forecast it will be some time before planters can return to the field in most places.”

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Rain and storm events over the past couple of weeks, have prevented farmers in NE Iowa from completely getting their corn and soybean crops planted. According to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM), the research and demonstration farm here at Nashua received 3.4” of rainfall from May 8th to May 22nd. Corn was able to be rowed last week, and is primarily from emergence (VE) to V1 stage. Early planted corn fields are beginning the V2 growth stage. Soybeans that have been planted are primarily at VE, with some beginning the VC stage. In NE Iowa, NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) estimates that 88% and 59% of corn and soybeans have been planted respectively, with 41% and 13% of the corn and soybeans emerged respectively. Alfalfa will soon be harvested once it dries out and is suitable for field operations in order to retain as much forage quality as possible.”  

Southwest and West Central

Aaron Saeugling (Region 6): “Corn in SW Iowa ranges from VE to V3. The lack of sunshine has caused some yellow corn. There are a few fields exhibiting cold stress emergence but overall the corn crop is looking good. We are saturated after last week, so some corn stands will be thinned out due to excessive moisture. Soybeans are approximately 80% planted. After the rainfall last week, some soybean fields will need replanting. Very few beans have emerged, but I expect that to change this week with warm temperatures. Alfalfa and hay fields look good. Growth has been rapid the last week, and once we dry out farmers will be mowing for their first cutting.”  

Clark McGrath: “Here in SW/SC IA we are pretty much done with corn. The few acres left will probably go to beans if they ever dry out. In general,  stands look pretty solid; however there have been some issues with corkscrewing, leafing out under the ground or other cold/wet weather issues. Considering the stress we have had though today’s genetics are pretty amazing. Some of the earlier planted corn is V3 to pushing V4, but a lot of the corn is VE to V2. There will be a lot of corn spraying going on whenever it dries out enough to get back in the field. Soybeans are probably 80 to 90% planted. Unfortunately a few areas are well behind that pace, simply due to all the rain we have had combined with poorly drained soils. Soybean burndown/residual herbicide applications on no-till acres have been hit and miss. There will be some pretty aggressive burndown applications made; please double check product labels for things like planting intervals, weed size and soybean emergence restrictions to avoid crop injury and performance issues.”

Southeast and East Central:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Since the week of May 8, we’ve received anywhere from 1.5 to 3 inches of rainfall in SE/SC Iowa. We also had some strong winds and a little hail last week when those storms moved through. Most of the corn is in the ground, but there is still a fair amount of soybeans to go in the ground. The early planted corn (April 11/April 12) is approaching V4, while most of the later planted corn is VE to V2. Soybeans are also starting to emerge. If you used the seed treatment ILeVO you may notice the soybean cotyledons looking yellow or brown around the outer edge. I’ve had a few calls on this. Other things to be watching for include seedling diseases in corn and insect activity (black cutworm, armyworm, and bean leaf beetles). In regards to forages, alfalfa is starting to bloom and should be ready for the first cutting once we dry out.”

Corn seedling with a rotted mesocotyl due to a seedling disease. Look for above ground symptoms of yellowed, stunted, or wilted plants or plants with dying leaves. Photo by: Rebecca Vittetoe. 

Meaghan Anderson (Region 9): “Most corn is out of the ground and staging somewhere between VE and V4. Storms came through east central Iowa last week bringing rain, hail, and wind. While corn may be looking a little tough right now, it’s a good time to get out and check stands, scout for pests, and check on weed control. I’ve checked several fields that will be ready for a timely postemergence herbicide application as soon as the soils dry out.  Seedling diseases will be showing up soon as well and will probably appear as wilted or yellow plants, or plants with dying leaves. Almost every stand count I checked last week had at least one plant that unfurled underground. This is likely the effect of chilling after the seed had germinated and began to produce a radicle. Most soybeans I’ve seen are just getting to the point where we could take stand counts and start checking for bean leaf beetle feeding or other early season issues.”

(Left photo) Field ready for a timely postemergence herbicide application as soon as it dries out. (Right photo) Corn seedling that unfurled underground, which is likely the effect of chilling that occurred after the seed germinated and began producing a radicle. Photos by: Meaghan Anderson. 

Virgil Schmitt (Region 10): “Over the last two weeks, we received anywhere from 2 to 4 inches. The wet weather only left 4 to five days for fieldwork in the last two weeks.Corn is mostly planted, and what was planted in the April 22 to April 25 window is at that V2 to V4 stage. It is generally healthy, but some does not have a full green color because of a lack of sunny days. Soybeans are over half planted, and a few fields have emerged. There will be soybeans planted on May 15 to 16 that will emerge before planned soil applied herbicides can be applied, so some farmers, dealers, and consultants may need to go with Plan B or Plan C for weed management. Alfalfa is starting to bloom; however there was a storm that went through late Wednesday, May 17 that flattened some hay. The storm also damaged or destroyed some buildings as well as some trees."

Map showing rainfall totals for Iowa over the last two weeks. 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...