Regional Update: Planting progress and crop conditions for May 14 through May 22

May 22, 2018 10:05 AM
Blog Post

While #Plant18 has basically wrapped up in the southern part of the state for corn and soybeans are about three-fourths planted, #Plant18 has been much slower in the northern part of the state. According to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report, approximately 86% of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted and 53% has emerged, and on the soybean side, 58% of the expected crop is planted and 18% is emerged. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists report planting progress and crop conditions in their respected regions across the state.  

Northwest Iowa

Joel DeJong (Region 1): “Planting progress in the NW corner of Iowa has gone well lately for most, with those south of about Hwy 18 mostly done with corn, and beans maybe two-thirds planted. The area of most concern, Osceola County, had field work progress in many fields starting late last Thursday, and proceeding over the weekend. About two-thirds of their corn looks to be in the ground now, and many remaining fields are still quite wet. Planting around wet spots is common. Not many beans are planted in that area. Counties near that have been slower to get the crop planted due to wet conditions, also. Counties to the south have a lot of corn emerged now, from spike to V2. Stands look good in those fields. Two Plymouth County alfalfa fields averaged 24” tall on Sunday, and not quite in the bud stage. The PEAQ relative feed value of this crop as it stands is 190. It will reach the bud stage soon.”

Paul Kassel (Region 2):  “We had a good stretch for field work last Thursday to Sunday – May 17 to 20.  Then things pretty much came to a halt with some widespread rainfall Sunday night. Corn planting progress is about 95% south of Hwy 3 and is about 75% between Hwy 3 and Hwy 18. Corn planting progress is about 50-60% along the Hwy 9 corridor. Soybean planting progress is about 25 to 50% - with the northern areas lagging the southern part of my area. The corn that was planted on April 29-30 or on May 7 has emerged. Some of this corn has struggled a little – with some farmers considering replanting on parts of these fields. Some farmers actually planted some of their soybean crop before corn. The 2017 corn fields that were fall tilled often dried faster than the unworked 2017 soybean stubble fields."

A custom applicator applying liquid nitrogen and herbicide to a field in Clay County. Photo by Paul Kassel. 

North Central Iowa

Angie Rieck-Hinz (Region 3): "A very small percentage of acres had been planted to corn in Worth and Cerro Gordo counties prior to Thursday May 17, but finally some drier conditions and spotty shower activity allowed farmers to start field operations and planting over the past weekend. I would estimate 50% of the corn is planted in that area and fieldwork, spraying and planting was going strong today (Tuesday, May 22) east of Interstate 35. Nearly all the corn is planted from Hwy 20 to Hwy 3, but only about 30% of the beans are planted, and less beans the further north you go.  And while we hope for continued dry conditions across the northern part of my area, folks in Story and Boone are hoping for a little rain. Corn ranges from VE to V3 in Story County and I have seen some V1 beans in Webster County.  Emerged corn looks good, and have a had a few reports of bean leaf beetle feeding."

Northeast Iowa

Terry Basol (Region 4): “Last week’s dry weather conditions really helped farmers in NE Iowa with corn planting progress. From last Wednesday (May 16th) through Sunday (May 20th) provided farmers in Northeast Iowa to get up to 80% and 52% of the corn and soybeans planted respectively, according to the . Most all of the southern half of my territory is finished planting corn and has a very good start on soybean planting. Early planted corn has emerged and shows to be in the VE to V1 and some in the V2 stage. Soybeans have also begun to emerge in the southern area with most in the VC stage. The farther north you go, or closer to the Minnesota border, the less corn that’s planted. Growers in the northern counties continue to be challenged due to excessive soil moisture conditions. Most growers in this area of the state were able to get some corn planted as well due to the favorable weather we had last week."

Corn planting continues at the NE IA Research and Demonstration Farm by Nashua, IA. Photo by Terry Basol. 

Southwest and West Central

Mike Witt (Region 11): “In West Central Iowa, corn generally looks good with almost all fields planted. The corn is at a growth stage of anywhere from not emerged to V4. I have seen a few issues with planting into colder fields and herbicide problems but in general stands look good. Soybeans are around 80% planted with a few fields emerged or starting to emerge. The projected weather pattern of warmer temperatures and good precipitation look to provide good upcoming growing conditions. Some alfalfa fields I have monitored in the area are on pace for first cutting to occur during the first week of June. Spraying of fields is also in full swing with weather conditions determining which fields can be covered. Overall for this week, I expect planting and spraying will continue at the rate that spotty rain storms will allow.”

Southeast and East Central:

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “Rainfall was spotty across the south-central area over the last week, with some areas receiving a trace to other areas receiving a couple of inches. Corn planting has basically wrapped up, and corn ranges anywhere from just emerged to V4. Soybean planting is probably 85 to 95% complete in the area. Some of the earliest planted soybeans are at the VC stage already. Overall fields are looking pretty good. It’s a good time to get out and evaluate how stands are looking. This includes doing stand counts to compare seeding rates to plant populations; looking for potential insect, weed, or herbicide injury problems/issues; and checking for any planter issues, such as inconsistent planting depth or plant spacing issues. I have received calls and looked at corn fields with fomesafen carryover from last year. Usually it’s been in fields were fomesafen was applied late or in overlap areas. Most of the corn should grow out of it. Pastures and alfalfa fields are looking pretty good, but we’ll need consistent rain throughout the growing season to keep them going. As of May 22, alfalfa at the ISU McNay farm is measuring 28 to 30" tall and is just starting to form buds. The PEAQ relative feed value would for this alfalfa averaging 28" to 30" tall ranges from 163 to 171 if no buds are visible and 156 to 164 if buds are visible.”

The veinal chlorosis and necrosis on these corn seedlings from a field in Mahaska County is a common injury symptom in corn of fomesafen carryover. Photo by Rebecca Vittetoe. 

Josh Michel: “Rainfall was scattered in this part of the state. While the rain did help improve soil moisture conditions were it did fall, subsoil moisture levels are still low. Corn is basically all planted and ranges from just emerged to V3 to V4. Soybeans are about 90 to 95% planted, and the farthest along soybean field I’ve seen is VC. It’s a good time to get out and evaluate stands Alfalfa fields are around 24” tall or slightly taller. I haven’t seen any buds yet, but expect to see budding later this week. This equates to a PEAQ relative feed value of 190.”

Meaghan Anderson (Region 9): “Most corn is out of the ground, with the largest corn I've seen at V3. Most soybeans are just at VE stage, but I saw one field at VC stage late last week. Once crops are up, early season scouting and stand counts can begin. Stand counts allow you to compare your stand with seeding rate and look for anything unusual with the field. Overall, corn stands look really nice, with more consistency in many fields than last spring. While you're out scouting, keep an eye out for bean leaf beetle feeding in the earliest-seeded soybean fields. In corn, weeds are coming on strong and will need POST herbicides soon, scout for black cutworms and other early-season insect pests, such as armyworms, and keep an eye out for herbicide carryover from last year's late fomesafen applications in soybeans. Luckily, most corn with fomesafen carryover will recover after a few leaves with no issue.”

Weed seedlings are starting to show up in fields. Be scouting and make timely POST herbicide applications. Photo by Meaghan Anderson. 

Virgil Schmitt (Region 10): “In the last two weeks we have receive 1 – 3 inches of rain over most of the counties I cover. Corn is mostly V2 to V3 with fields on both sides of that. In general stands look very good and healthy. Soybeans are mostly yet to emerge to VE. Again, stands look good and healthy.”

Rainfall totals across Iowa for the past two weeks. Source:

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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...