As planting season ramps up in the fields across the state, Iowa State University agricultural experts are commenting on the trends that will shape the 2017 growing season.
Chad Hart, associate professor of economics and grain markets specialist said commodity prices going into this year’s planting season have improved compared to a year ago, leading to “cautious optimism” among producers.
“Farmers are approaching their fields with better prices than what they were a year ago,” Hart said. “The challenge this year with the number of acres we’re expecting is that more huge supplies will put downward pressure on prices for the near term.”
A full recovery from the low prices of recent years most likely will require a reduction in supplies, he said.
Mark Licht, assistant professor of agronomy and cropping systems agronomist for ISU Extension and Outreach said most years provide Iowa farmers a roughly eight-week window for planting corn and soybeans that begins in late April.
Licht said, “It’s not date dependent. “It’s a combination of date, plus soil moisture, soil temperature and the five-day forecast.”
Soil moisture across much of the state looks adequate, and has surpassed the 50-degree mark, the threshold at which soil is warm enough for planting.
However, he still urged farmers to pay close attention to the five-day forecast before hitting the fields.
Elwynn Taylor, professor of agronomy, who studies the effects of weather on agriculture said adequate soil moisture and temperatures at this point in the year may point to strong yields at the end of the growing season, but it’s too soon to make many predictions.
“That warm weather could give a head start to weeds, disease and insect pests,” Taylor said. “So there may be some concern about that in some quarters, but those are problems farmers have a lot of experience with.”