CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Farmers statewide took advantage of several days of decent weather last week to plant corn, but the season is off to a very slow start.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that producers have planted 15 percent of the expected corn acreage, 13 percent ahead of 2013, but 18 percent behind the five-year average. Some corn has begun to emerge and there were scattered reports of soybean planting.
There were three days suitable for fieldwork in the week that ended on Sunday. Other activities for the week included applying fertilizers and herbicides.
The USDA said the recent rainfall improved Iowa soil moisture levels.
Topsoil moisture levels were rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 14 percent very short, 36 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.
Northwest remains the driest area of the state with 17 percent of topsoil reported in very short condition.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said last week’s wet conditions kept many farmers out of the field.
With more significant rainfall forecast, it will take several days with warm dry weather before fields are fit and farmers are able to start planting again, Northey said.
Sowing of oats was 68 percent complete, 26 percent ahead of last year but 13 percent behind the five-year average. Twenty-four percent of oats have emerged, ahead of last year’s 10 percent, but 18 percent behind the five-year average.
Pasture condition was rated 10 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 44 percent fair, 24 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Calving conditions were reported as poor with the wet conditions and cooler temperatures in some area of the state.