Iowa farmers made big progress in planting last week


May 21st, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Iowa farmers made up a lot of time planting last week with a stretch of dry weather. The latest crop report from the U-S-D-A shows 71-percent of the corn is now in the ground — an increase of 56-percent compared to last week’s report. Even with that progress, the corn planting at this point in the spring remains well behind the 97-percent that was in the ground last year, and also behind the five year average is 92-percent. Soybean planting is 16-percent complete, well behind the 78-percent that was completed at this time last year. The wet weather has helped the soil moisture, with just three percent of the topsoil moisture reported as short. Just two percent of subsoil moisture was reported very short and 13-percent short.

As the race to get the crop in the ground continues, Iowa utility officials are reminding farmers to be aware of their surroundings. Alliant Energy spokesperson, Michelle Olson, says they’ve already had reports of tractors and related equipment damaging power poles. She says it’s particularly important when moving the big farm equipment at night. “Pay attention when entering and exiting fields, you’re going to have to think about it probably a little more than if you were doing work during the day, making sure to lower equipment and having a spotter — if you have a second person on hand — having a spotter helping you get through those areas is a great idea,” Olson says. She says fatigue from long days, along with darkness, add to the danger.

“In Iowa we’ve had a couple of instances where pieces of equipment have caught the down guy wires. Those are the wire supports put in to support poles that are on a slight curve or a corner,” Olson says. She says in Wisconsin a pole was hit and snapped by someone working at night. Olson says no one was injured in any of the accidents. She says if a vehicle or piece of machinery contacts an energized line, stay put until emergency personnel are notified. She says a good rule of thumb is to try and stay at least ten feet away from power lines.

(Radio Iowa)