Regional Update: May 13 - May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024 2:09 PM
Blog Post

The weather provided a window for farmers to get back in fields and continue to make planting progress. Other field activities in the last week included tillage, herbicide applications, harvesting first cutting of alfalfa, and rotary hoe operations in areas dealing with soil crusting. From the field, ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists are seeing and hearing about some emergence and crusting issues, hail, ponding or drowned out areas, herbicide injury, delayed planting, and cover crop termination challenges. Read on for more for more specifics on what’s happening in different areas across the state.  

Northwest Iowa

Leah Ten Napel (Region 1): “Northwest Iowa had taken advantage of short work windows last week and made a good dent in planting progress. I would estimate corn planting progress around 85-90% and soybeans planted around 65-70%. It has been difficult to get ahead of weeds with only small windows of time with low wind and dry fields. Issues with weed control might arise because of late or missed applications, or excessive rainfall following applications. There have been reports of soil crusting causing emergence issues but stands look good in fields that got out of the ground fast. Now is the time to be doing stand assessments in your fields. Check out these articles on corn and soybean stand assessments and help with replant decision making!”

Gentry Sorenson (Region 2) "Approximately 70% of corn and 50% of the soybeans are planted across the area that I serve, good planting progress was made through the weekend and on Monday. Heavy rain occurred during the overnight hours of May 20 into May 21, with rainfalls ranging from 1-4 inches across my region.  Hail was also reported in areas of Clay and Palo Alto counties. Corn ranges from the VE-V1 growth stage, with some soybean fields at VE.  Several corn fields experienced soil crusting issues from earlier rainfalls. Rotary hoe operations were performed on several fields to help break the crust and help emergence of corn. Some areas of fields that that had standing water from rainfall earlier in the month were recently replanted, unfortunately some of those areas are underwater again with the recent rainfall of May 20/May 21. Phone calls and field calls have been about poor emergence in corn due to crusting, planting concerns due to wet soil conditions, and questions on cover crops."

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “The Crop Progress Report for May 20 indicated that 82% of the corn and 58% of the soybeans are planted in the north central Iowa crop reporting district.  My estimate is there are more corn acres planted than what that report reflects, and definitely more beans planted.  Fieldwork and planting resumed on Monday, May 13 in my northern counties and by Thursday, May 16 in my southern counties.  With that being said, there are definitely pockets where it has remained wet and halted all field activities. In some cases, corn was planted in less than ideal soil moisture conditions leaving concern for emergence and rooting. Corn is VE to V3.  Emergence uniformity is of concern in many fields and a few farmers have shared they hope to be able to replant not only the wet areas, but in some cases, entire fields.  While out scouting, I have noticed a few dead heads of bromegrass in the ditches indicating that common stalk borers may be present.  We are just on the cusp of having enough growing degree days (1400 GDDs)  to start seeing movement to cornfields in my southern counties so be sure to scout those field edges. Soybeans are VE to V1. Other field activities including herbicide applications and side-dressing nitrogen.  Cover crop termination has been a struggle this year and I have seen some creative (and I hope successful) methods of termination this year.”

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Farmers were able to get back into the field last week and make a lot of progress with both corn and soybean planting. Operations started slowly last Monday, and incrementally picked up pace through the week, with field activity going strong through this past weekend. Corn ranges from VE-V2 depending on planting date, and soybeans mainly range from VE – VC, with early planted soybeans at V1. According to the USDA-NASS Crop Progress Report for May 20, as of May 19, 82 and 76 % of the acres have been planted to corn in NC and NE Iowa, respectively. For soybeans, 58 and 65 % of the acres have been planted in NC and NE Iowa respectively. Alfalfa is getting very close to first cutting, with most growers waiting for a dry 3–4 day window forecast to get it harvested successfully. Heavy rainfall has occurred throughout the area in the morning of May 21, with potential flooding and ponding issues arising. For more information on ponding impacts on crops, check out the ICM news articles: Ponding Impacts on Corn Growth & Development and Ponding Impacts on Soybean Growth & Development."

Josh Michel (Region 5): “Last week farmers took advantage of a break in the weather to get caught up on field operations. Although we received up to 1 inch of rainfall in isolated areas, that didn’t stop many from finishing up planting and harvesting their first crop of alfalfa. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor continues to show some slight improvements. I’d estimate that 80% of the corn has been planted, while soybeans stand at 65%. The furthest along corn I’ve seen is around V2/ V3. Early planted soybeans are just getting their first trifoliate leaves. While alfalfa fields and pastures continue to benefit from recent rainfall, increasing amounts of alfalfa weevil feeding have prompted many farmers to harvest their first crop of alfalfa. Initial harvest reports suggest that tonnage and quality are average to slightly above average. Other recent field calls have centered around forage management, weed identification and management, along with an occasional pesticide drift call.”

Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson (Region 7): “Central Iowa received a nice break from rainfall late last week that allowed another burst of fieldwork to get completed, despite a few wet patches left in fields. Monday morning and Tuesday morning this week (May 20 and 21) brought more (excessive) rainfall, and I’ve already received reports of flooded fields, roads, washed out fences, and other related issues. Corn is quite variable across my area, from just planted to close to V3; some fields are exhibiting variability due to the tough conditions in late April and early May. Replant has already happened in some fields due to emergence issues as well. Soybeans are anywhere from just planted to V1 (first trifoliate). Monitor fields for uneven emergence, disease issues, and other problems as a result of the ponding from recent rains. Unfortunately, many weeds are beginning to break through early herbicide applications already and will need treated soon after fields dry back out. Last week, I observed waterhemp, foxtail, and Asian copperleaf emergence in fields that had early April PREs. Most phone calls have been about replant, seedling disease, weed identification, and herbicide injury."

Baby asian cooper leaf
Asian copperleaf seedling. Photo by Meaghan Anderson. 

Flooding in a central Iowa field as a result of the rain that came through early on May 21. Photo by Meaghan Anderson. 

East Central, Southeast, and South-Central Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Rainfall earlier last week slowed field activities down but field activities including spraying, planting, and putting up hay really picked up towards the end of last week and over the weekend as fields became fit again. A lot of planting progress was made over the weekend. The earlier planted corn is at V3-V4 and soybeans at V1. I’ve heard of some issues with soil crusting and emergence in my area as well as herbicide injury in soybeans from pre emergence herbicides. Take time to assess stands as crops emerge. Now is also the time to be scouting for pests like bean leaf beetles and black cutworms.  Questions over the last week were mainly on alfalfa weevils, delayed planting, herbicide injury in soybeans, and weed identification.”

Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “Rainfall during the last week in the counties I cover generally ranged from less than 0.1 inch to 1.5 inches with smaller amounts to the north and larger amounts to the south. Very little field work was done last week in the counties I cover until Thursday or Friday and into the weekend. Much hay was cut on Thursday or Friday and baled on Sunday. Planters and sprayers were going strong over the weekend. Corn planting is about 90% complete in my northern counties and about 70% complete in my southern counties. Most corn is about V1 and looks good. Some early planted corn is at V3. So far, I have not heard of any black cutworm problems. Soybean planting is about 80% complete in my northern counties and about 60% complete in my southern counties. Some early planted soybeans are at V1. So far, I have not heard of any issues with bean leaf beetles. Alfalfa is about 29 inches tall and has an estimated RFV of 167. Wild parsnip is starting to bloom. Contacts last week mostly involved alfalfa weevils, weed identification and management, and the Late Spring Soil Nitrate Test.”

Rainfall totals across the state map

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

Field agronomist area map


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...