Iowa ag secretary says 2013 yields will be lower, due to late planting

Ag/Outdoor, News

May 30th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture says some Iowa farmers face tough decisions because of the wet weather. Secretary Bill Northey says some farmers may have to shift to seeding soybeans in fields they had planned to plant with corn this year. “We still have 15 percent of the corn to be planted out there for the first time and, really, almost none of that’s going to get planted ’til June. I’m sure some of it may not even get planted just because some rivers are out of their banks. In other places it’s going to be hard to get planted,” We have 60 percent of the soybeans yet to be planted and normally that should be close to being done or at least within sight of being done and now we’re hardly within sight of getting that in the ground.” 

In addition, farmers may have to replant fields that have been underwater for a while. “Way back in 1993 we had issues where the crop actually, essentially drowned out just in really soggy soil. Normally that doesn’t happen inIowa. We get some dry weather between our rains and the crop may struggle through some saturated soils, but it grows,” Northey says. “We’re at a point where we have to worry a little bit about making sure that soil dries out between these rains so that bean plant and that corn plant can stay healthy and keep growing.” 

Farmers are looking for warm, windy days in the forecast. Northeys says “We don’t need 40 mile an hour winds, but we certainly could use 15-20 mile an hour breezes on those warm days to be able to get some of that drying done.” Seed treatments can help young plants survive wet conditions. Northey says June 10th is a sort of cut-off date for planting corn in Iowa and farmers can plant soybeans as late as the first week of July, but the shortened growing season means a shorter crop. Northey farms near Spirit Lake and he still has some planting to do in his fields.

According to the Iowa Farm Bureau, planting progress is slower than it was in the dramatic flood year of 1993.

(Radio Iowa)