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Rainy, chilly week keeps planters parked in Iowa

With the release of the first 2022 Crop Progress Report, this growing season is officially off to the races. So far, Iowa has very little corn or soybeans in the ground.

Kelly Garrett of Arion, Iowa, is one of the early birds ... he’s had the planter out already. His first 60 acres of soybeans went in the ground on March 21. 

Those beans have been through several 18°F. mornings and snow over the last two weeks. Garrett admits he was starting to doubt his decision to plant so early. But this morning a visit to the field revealed swelled seeds that are just starting to sprout. “Anything can happen,” Garrett says, but he’s feeling confident in his early soybeans once again.

He was hoping to get more soybeans planted today, but the soil was just too wet under the cornstalks in his Crawford county fields. Garrett plans to start planting corn in two or three weeks at the end of April. Average soil temperatures in Crawford county were 40°F. on Sunday, according to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet.

Map of Iowa soil temperatures
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

After much of the state suffered from drought in the 2021 growing season, moisture is welcomed by many farmers this spring.

“Late-season snow last week, along with recent rainfall, has helped ease drought conditions across portions of the state,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “While April precipitation outlooks point to the possibility of wetter-than-normal conditions, near-term temperatures are forecasted to remain colder than average.”

Map of Iowa precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Snow, rain, and chilly temperatures left just 1.6 days suitable for fieldwork last week, according to USDA. The statewide average temperature was 36.1°F., 7.3°F. below normal. When and where possible, fieldwork activities included applying anhydrous and fertilizer, spreading manure, and planting oats.

Oats in Iowa

Corn may be king, but Iowa is also one of the top nine oat producing states. So far, 7% of the state’s oats are planted. That’s 3% behind the state’s 2021 planting pace, but 2% above the five-year average.

Oat planting has also begun in Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. Farmers in Texas are done planting their oats, according to USDA.

Iowa oats have not emerged yet.

Iowa pasture condition

Pastures in Iowa were still mostly dormant last week. Livestock conditions were generally good although feedlots were wet after the week’s rain. Producers report calving is continuing.

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