Mapping out below average temperatures slowing planting progress

Here’s a closer look at the weather that affected planting progress in the top corn producing states the week of April 12 to 18.

Iowa

“With late-season snowflakes flying in parts of the state today and freezing temperatures expected early this week, farmers should continue to be cautious about planting,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on Monday.

Snow and abnormally cool temperatures kept many Iowa farmers from planting corn and soybeans last week. Except for a few southern counties, all of Iowa recorded lows below freezing. According to the April 19 Crop Progress report, farmers have planted 4% of the state’s corn crop and 1% of Iowa soybean acres.

Map of Iowa low temperatures April 12 to 18, 2021
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

In Arion, farmer Kelly Garrett is ahead of his peers. He’s planted about 35% of his soybean acres, but plans to hold off planting corn until next week. Garrett says soil temperatures on his farm were as high as 81°F. earlier in April, but dropped to 48°F. at 3 inches depth in recent days.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture reported there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork last week. Farmers kept busy applying anhydrous and dry fertilizer, spreading manure, and tilling fields.

Illinois

Across the Mississippi River, in Illinois, temperatures were also below average last week. Monday’s Crop Progress report indicated farmers have planted 12% of the state’s corn crop, pacing ahead of the 8% five-year average. Soybean planting pace is also ahead of average with 5% of the crop in the ground.

Dan Luepkes farms in north-central Illinois where temperatures over the last week averaged about 4°F. below normal. As of Sunday, he hadn’t planted any corn or soybeans yet.

Lows below freezing temperatures were recorded in the northern half of the state last week, reaching as low as 27°F. around Lee and DeKalb counties. On Sunday, April 18, 4-inch soil temperatures ranged from 45°F. in the north to 53°F. in the south.

Map of Illinois low temperatures April 12 to 18, 2021
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Nebraska

Temperatures were as much as 13°F. below average in Nebraska last week. Monday’s Crop Progress report indicated farmers have planted 2% of the state’s corn crop, pacing behind of the 4% five-year average. Farmers have not started planting soybeans in the Cornhusker state.

Map of Nebraska low temperatures
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

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