Regional Update: May 2 - May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022 2:22 PM
Blog Post

While not much planting progress was made last week (again), the warmer and drier weather this week should provide more favorable conditions for fieldwork and planting. Some of the hot topics over the last week across the state included concerns about cover crop termination, seeding forages yet this spring, and planting progress. Read on to see what ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomists are hearing and seeing across the state.

Northwest Iowa

Joel DeJong (Region 1): “ The NW corner of Iowa had a little rain last week – from about .25 inches in the corner of the region I serve, to a little over an inch in parts of Monona and Ida counties. We are certainly not experiencing the excess water others report but have had a stop and start to planting due to showers this past week. Where drier – I think we average over 50% of the corn planted, but less as we move east. Soybeans vary by neighborhood, but some got a lot in before they started on corn. On Monday afternoon I observed my first corn emerging for the spring – the hot weather of the day finally accumulated enough GDD’s for some April 11th corn to begin to reach the surface. If we avoid significant rain this week, a very high percentage of both corn and beans will be planted here. Then – send some rain!”


April 11th planted corn finally accumulated enough GDDs and emerged on May 9th. Photo courtesy of Joel DeJong. 

 Gentry Sorenson (Region 2): “Planting progress was slowed due to cool and moist soil conditions. My area (Region 2) received showers last week that were just enough to slow field work for many. Warmer weather was received at the end of the week, which allowed for considerable drying of fields. Planters were widely found in region Monday (May 9th) and Tuesday (May 10th) of this week. Some growers made planting progress last week if they missed the showers that moved across NW Iowa. Several pastures have cattle turned out to graze, the rainfall and recent warm weather have benefited pasture growth. The forecast looks favorable for continued planting operations in the ten-day forecast. Recent field calls consisted of questions on alfalfa, pasture management, and planting progress.”


Planters finally got out late last week and are common sight to see this week. Photo courtesy of Gentry Sorenson. 

 North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): “Planting progress is highly variable across the eight counties in NC Iowa that I cover.  There has been more progress in Webster, Hamilton, Humboldt counties than counties to the east or north.  By Saturday soil conditions were just to the point that some folks could do tillage or plant, but the rain on Sunday has slowed us down again.  For the week for of May 2nd to May 9th, rainfall varied from 0.2 inches at Northwood to 3.14 inches at Eldora, with local amounts from Sunday, May 8th pushing 4+ inches in places in southeastern Hardin County. For the crops that are in the ground, we continue to be behind on heat units, but that will change this week.  Most phone calls this past week have been about cover crops and forages.”

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Spring planting season continues to be delayed in NC and NE Iowa due to the rainy, wet weather in the past week. According to the May 9th USDA-NASS  Crop Progress & Condition Report, 7 and 5 % of the acres have been planted to corn in NC and NE Iowa, respectively. The 5-year average for acres planted to corn for the state of Iowa by this time of year is 63 % according to NASS.  Warmer temperatures have helped soil temperatures, as the area’s 4-inch depth range from 56 -62 F, thereby reaching the minimum of 50 F for optimum planting conditions and emergence. As far as precipitation, according to the Iowa Mesonet, the NE Iowa Research and Demonstration Farm by Nashua received 1.75 inches of rain for the past week (May 2nd to May 9th). However, in parts of the area that I work with, field operations resumed this past Saturday, as there were some anhydrous applications, primary tillage operations, and a few planters making headway in the fields on a sunny day without rain.”

Josh Michel (Region 5): “Cool and wet conditions continue to limit any significant field work and planting throughout most of the region. Over the past week 0.25 to 0.50 inches of precipitation fell throughout most of the area. Approximately 75% of the oats have been planted. Of those planted, 15-20% have emerged so far. Less than 10% of the corn and soybeans have been planted. Alfalfa and pastures continue to green up, but growth remains slow due to cool temperatures. Warmer temperatures in the forecast should encourage plant growth. Recent field calls have consisted of cover crop termination, weed management, pasture improvements and alfalfa stand assessments.”

East Central, Southeast, and South Central Iowa:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Minimal field work occurred last week. Rainfall totals ranged from 0.5 to 1.5 inches over the last week, and the cooler and more cloudy conditions slowed drying fields out. Late last week and over the weekend folks were able to get back in the field, and I started seeing a few planters rolling on Sunday, and they really started rolling on Monday. I expect a lot of corn and soybeans to go in the ground this week. Forages are finally starting to get some growth on them. I can officially confirm that alfalfa weevils (adults and larvae) are active in alfalfa fields. Don’t forget to scout your alfalfa fields for this pest. Questions this past week have mainly been on cover crop termination, forage stands, seeding forages yet this spring, and burndown/pre herbicide applications vs. planting.”


Alfalfa weevil adult (left) and larave (right) found in an alfalfa field in Washington County on May 10th. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Vittetoe. 

Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “ Rainfall last week in the counties I cover ranged from about 0.75 to 1.5 inches except for lesser amounts in southern Lee County. In general, temperatures last week in the counties I cover were 1 to 3 degrees below normal. Less than 10% of the corn and less than 5% of the soybeans are planted as of Monday (May 9th) morning, but planters got out in force on Monday and excellent planting progress should be made this week. Soil temperatures have finally moved into the 50’s, with soil temperatures in the counties I cover being in the mid-to-upper 50’s on Sunday, May 8th. Calls last week mostly involved application of burndown herbicides on cover crops, and how long after cover crop termination to wait before planting corn, herbicides, and fertilizers.”


Rainfall totals from May 2 to May 9, 2022 across teh state of Iowa. Source: https://mrcc.purdue.edu/CLIMATE/Maps/stnMap_btd2.jsp.

Clarabell Probasco (Region 11): “Much of SC Iowa received more rain this past week. The majority of the areas received a few tenths up to half an inch in total rainfall. Even with this rainfall, some growers found a small window on certain fields to continue field work and even begin some planting progress. Soil temperatures were still cooler with the cooler daytime and nighttime temperatures. Thankfully, over the past few days, the air temperatures have really warmed up and the wind has blown steadily to help get things dried out again and soil temperatures built back up. As of May 9th, the 4-inch soil temperatures in SC Iowa are sitting in the low 60s. The weather forecast looks to stay on the warm and dry side for the next few days. This should provide a good window for growers to plant. There is another chance of rain for this upcoming weekend, followed by another stretch of dry and warmer temperatures.”  


The 4-inch soil temperatures across the state of Iowa as of May 9th. Source: Iowa Mesonet

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...