ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Seed continues to go rapidly into Upper Midwest fields

Eastern Iowa is a bright spot so far this planting season. It, and other parts of the region, continue to make rapid planting progress.

GrandValeCreative4059.jpg
Farmers across the region have made rapid planting progress. (Erin Ehnle Brown / Grand Vale Creative LLC)

Eastern Iowa farmers had a difficult 2020 growing season, in part because of the derecho, a series of powerful straight-line wind storms that devastated crops across wise swaths of the state. That makes the promising start to the 2021 crop season even more satisfying, said Ryan Kay, an Iowa agriculturalist.

Corn and soybeans planting progress is far more than advanced than usual, and "we're blessed. We're setting the state for an average or above-average year," said Kay, accredited farm manager and accredited land consultant with Hertz Farm Management and Hertz Real Estate Services in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Iowa is as among the stars in the weekly crop progress report released May 10 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of agriculture. The report reflected conditions on May 9.

Though drought and a cool spring have slowed planting in big parts of the region, planting generally has gone well. That continued in the week ending May 9, because Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota ag producers, on average, enjoyed at least five or six days suitable for fieldwork.

A dry April helped Iowa farmers make planting progress, though cool stretches in the month held back planting. Increasingly large and sophisticated planting equipment also boosts planting progress, as does the number of farmers who have both corn and soybean planters. The latter reduces the amount of lost time spent switching a single planter from one crop to the other, Kay said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Iowa farmers are even more encouraged because this year they're able to plant entire fields, or nearly so. In several years in the recent past, many fields were so wet that farmers had to leave big chunks unplanted, which obviously cuts into yields and profit potential, Kay noted.

Typically, many Iowa farmers sell roughly a half of their annual crop before harvest, the rest after harvest. But the 2020 wind events cut yields so sharply that many ag producers had few remaining bushels to sell when corn and soybean prices shot higher in late 2020 and early 2021. That furthers the importance of getting crops planted, harvested and sold at favorable prices this crop season, Kay said.

Timely rains will be needed to get Iowa crops through the growing season. But overall ag producers are doing better on moisture than their peers in states to the north and west, Kay said.

"Like I said, we're blessed," he said.

Here's a closer look at current planting progress compared with the five-year average. Keep in mind that a number of recent cold, wet spring saw poor planting progress, lowering the five-year average. All number are for May 9.

Corn

Iowa — 86% is in the ground, up from the five-year average of 65%.

Minnesota — 85% is planted, up from the five-year average of 53%.

North Dakota — 36% is planted, compared with the five-year average of 24%.

ADVERTISEMENT

South Dakota — 66 is planted, up from the five-year average of 30%.

Oats

Minnesota — 89% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 62%.

North Dakota — 52% was planted, up from from the five-year average of 38%.

South Dakota — 89% was planted, up from the five-year average of 62%.

Iowa — 98% was planted, up from the five-year average of 93%.

Sugarbeets

North Dakota — 95% of the crop was planted, up from the five-year average of 66%.

Minnesota — 99% of the crop was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 66%.

Soybeans

Minnesota — 65% was planted, up from the five-year average of 25%

ADVERTISEMENT

North Dakota — 17% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 11%.

South Dakota — 43% was planted, up from the five-year average of 11%.

Iowa — 67% was planted, up from the five-year average of 38%.

Spring wheat

Minnesota — 97% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 52%.

Montana — 53% was planted, down from the five-year average of 52%.

North Dakota — 66% was in the ground, up from the five-year average of 42%.

South Dakota —91% was planted , up from the five-year average of 72%.

Barley

Montana — 58% was in the ground, compared with the five-year average of 59%.

North Dakota — 64% was planted, up from the five-year average of 38%.

Minnesota — 89% was planted, up from the five-year average of 45%.

What To Read Next
Commercial farmers in Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Minnesota start using drones for spraying, seeding.
This week on AgweekTV, we hear about North Dakota corporate farming legislation and about WOTUS challenges. Our livestock tour visits a seedstock operation and a rabbit farm. And we hear about new uses for drones.
Kevin and Lynette Thompson brought TNT Simmental Ranch to life in 1985. Now, their daughter, Shanon Erbele, and her husband, Gabriel, are taking over the reins, and their sale is for Feb. 10.
Gevo will be making sustainable aviation fuel in Lake Preston, South Dakota. Summit Carbon Solutions plans to capture carbon emissions from the facility.