Virgil Schmitt

VIRGIL SCHMITT

Five days.

That’s how much time most farmers in Eastern Iowa and across the state had in their fields last week, marking the longest stretch of days suitable for fieldwork this year.

For much of the spring planting season, farmers battled soggy ground caused by heavy rainfall. But last week brought some respite with dry, sunny weather. 

“Farmers finally got a much-needed break from the rain and were able to make significant progress on fieldwork,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig earlier this week. 

“Many farmers breathed a sigh of relief as they finished planting over the weekend. If the favorable weather conditions continue, most of the state should be done planting by the end of this week,” he added.

About 93 percent of the expected corn crop was planted as of June 9, more than two weeks behind last year and almost three weeks behind the five-year average, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

The percentage of the expected corn crop planted is nearly three weeks behind the five-year average. This is the smallest amount of corn planted by June 2 since 1982 when 76 percent of the expected crop had been planted. 

Seventy-three percent of the crop has emerged, over two weeks behind last year and average. Corn condition was rated 58 percent good to excellent, the report said.

Nearly one-third of the expected soybean crop was planted this past week. Iowa soybean growers now have 70 percent of the expected crop planted, 17 days behind last year and average. Thirty-five percent of the crop has emerged, over two weeks behind last year and average.

For farmers who got their crops in, the weather the rest of the summer is crucial, said Virgil L. Schmitt, extension field agronomist for the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Muscatine County.

He also cautioned that farmers try to manage their stress.

 “People need to be watching out for each other at this point because there is a lot of stress out there. If they become sensitive to that and are observing that a family member or a neighbor or customer, whatever, is just not his or her normal self don’t be shy about getting help,” Schmitt said.

Several options exist for getting help. 

The Iowa Concern Hotline offers confidential assistance and referral for stress, legal questions and financial concerns. It can be reached at (800) 447-1985; extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern.

Iowa Concern Hotline: confidential assistance and

referral for stress, legal questions and 

financial concerns. (800) 447-1985;