According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the majority of corn and soybean seeds in Iowa have been planted, demonstrating progress ahead of the average timeline. As of Sunday, approximately 98% of the state's corn crop was already planted, which is 11 days ahead of the five-year average. Similarly, about 94% of soybeans were planted, surpassing the average by 15 days.
The favorable planting progress can be attributed to the seasonal temperatures and drier conditions experienced in Iowa over the past week. Mike Naig, Iowa's agriculture secretary, expressed his satisfaction with the situation, stating that "nearly all of Iowa's corn and soybeans are now planted." The absence of rainfall during the previous week, as reported by State Climatologist Justin Glisan, contributed to the conducive planting conditions. Although there were some pockets of precipitation in western Iowa, the overall rainfall was minimal, with an average deficit of about an inch across the state.
However, it is important to note that the U.S. Drought Monitor indicates a potential shift to wetter conditions. Nonetheless, last week witnessed an expansion of drought in western Iowa, affecting approximately 29% of the state. It is worth mentioning that this report is nearly a week old and does not fully reflect the dryness experienced during most of the week.
The USDA report also highlights a significant decrease in available moisture in the topsoil. Currently, only about 50% of Iowa's cropland has adequate or surplus moisture, marking a decline from the previous week when it stood at approximately 75%. These moisture levels are crucial for the development and growth of crops.
Encouragingly, progress can also be seen in the emergence of corn plants. About 85% of the state's corn crop has emerged from the ground, with 77% of it rated as good to excellent in terms of quality.
Farmers in Iowa are now cautiously monitoring the weather conditions and hoping for a balance of rainfall and favorable temperatures in the coming weeks. Adequate moisture and ideal growing conditions will be crucial for the continued development and success of the corn and soybean crops throughout the season.