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Severe weather delays crop planting again

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Severe weather delays crop planting again

May 28, 2024 | 9:55 pm ET
By Jared Strong
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Severe weather delays crop planting again
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The ideal planting period for both crops has lapsed, and corn is especially at risk for yield losses from further delays. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Iowa farmers had an average of about two days available for field work last week due to severe weather that spawned damaging winds, nearly 30 tornadoes and triple the typical precipitation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Our hearts go out to all the Iowans and communities who have been affected by the recent rounds of devastating severe weather,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. He added: “Planting progresses as conditions allow, but many farmers continue to face delays.”

About 88% of the state’s corn crop was planted as of Sunday, the USDA reported. About 73% of soybeans had been planted, which is 10 days behind last year’s progress and about three days slower than the five-year average.

The ideal planting period for both crops has lapsed, and corn is especially at risk for yield losses from further delays. About 73% of corn plants that have emerged from the ground are rated good or excellent. Some of the crop has been affected by the severe weather.

Rainfall totals last week in some areas of the state surpassed 6 inches, with a high of 8.63 reported in Tama County, according to State Climatologist Justin Glisan. The statewide average was 3.41 inches — slightly more than triple what is typical.

Weeks of wet weather have mostly erased the dry field conditions that in recent years have threatened crop production. About 97% of the state’s crop fields have adequate or surplus moisture, the USDA reported. That is up from 50% a year ago.