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Planting window closing on producers still lagging behind

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa producers have most of this year’s corn and 88 percent of this year’s soybeans in the ground. But some producers haven’t made it that far, and the window is rapidly closing.

For the most part, Iowa producers have finished planting this year’s corn crop and are in the home stretch with this year’s soybean crop. Both also look pretty good; 82 percent of Iowa’s corn and 80 percent of the state’s soybeans are in USDA’s good-to-excellent crop rating category.

But in some parts of Iowa, planting progress is lagging behind. In the southwestern crop reporting district, only 51 percent of the soybean crop is in the ground. In central Iowa, that figure is fully 95 percent.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says that’s not good news for producers who are unable to wrap up planting today or tomorrow, which are expected to be relatively dry.

“Starting especially Thursday or Thursday night, it looks like a very wet period coming up statewide, really,” Hillaker says, “although at the moment the focus of the heaviest rains looks to be more northern Iowa, where things are further along as far as planting goes; and not as much southern Iowa, but even the southern part of the state’s getting probably quite a bit of rain. Over the next seven days, we’re talking about two and a half inches, maybe, in southeast Iowa, to five inches, kind of on the average, in northwest Iowa. It’s a lot of rain.”

Hillaker also says the season so far has been friendly to farmers, and normally when that happens, the trend continues into the summer.

“We got planting really started pretty early this year and a big part of the crop planted you know, in a very timely basis,” Hillaker notes. “Obviously southwest Iowa in particular, it’s had more frequent rainfall, and greater rainfall, as well when compared to the rest of the state, with kind of the northern fringe of that area [having] been excessively wet to the southwest of Iowa. But that one part of the state is kind of the exception. Everywhere else, it’s been really a good season thus far.”

To hear more about this year’s planting weather, click the audio player above this story.