Wet conditions preventing farmers from fieldwork


LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) – Wet conditions and prolonged cool temperatures are preventing many farmers from conducting fieldwork.   

The latest crop progress and conditions report shows 21 percent of the Iowa corn crop and three percent of the state’s soybean crop has already been planted which is slightly ahead of last year’s pace. However, in northwest Iowa, many farmers are waiting for better field conditions. 

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach crop specialists for northwest Iowa, Joel DeJong and Paul Kassel both say farmers in their regions are anxious for the weather to improve. We begin with DeJong.

“The counties I serve, it’s been a really slow start, said DeJong. “A lot of the area, particularly if you take from Highway 3, or even Highway 20 and go north, there’s been very little activity. We see some improvement and a little bit of activity there, but, we’re still trying to be patient and wait until we get a good opportunity.”

As for Paul Kassel who is based at Spencer, he basically echoes De Jong’s assessment.

“Maybe east of Spencer, they are a little bit further along. Areas like Emmetsburg, Algona, Garner, they may be 20 percent planted, as surveyed yesterday. A little bit less as you go north. Kind of the northwest part of my area as you go, you now, from Spencer to Estherville to the Iowa Great Lakes pretty slow going, not much going on, a little more rain. Of course, it’s been cool like it has been everywhere,” Kassel said. “Not much planted, maybe five or ten percent at the most. But, interestingly enough, a few soybean fields planted here and there. But when you go south to Pocahontas, Odebolt, Schaller, that area there. There’s 50…maybe as much as 70 percent planted in areas there.  So, some pretty good progress in parts of Sac, Pocahontas, and Buena Vista County.”

Kassel says this year, so far, farmers are ahead of last year, having suffered from delayed plantings due to extreme wet conditions a year ago. He says as of yet, there probably is no real yield lost. Kassel says the soil temperatures have mirrored the air temperatures being in the 40’s. De Jong says most of his region probably has less than five percent planted. De Jong noted that he has heard of some winter kill affecting some alfalfa fields. Both crop specialists say farmers are trying to be patient, and waiting for better weather conditions.

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