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Winneshiek County farmers are waiting for their fields to dry up

Posted: Tue, May 8, 2018 2:05 PM

Winneshiek County farmers have survived an April which was the snowiest in 125 years--only to now have to contend with a May which could rank among the wettest.

Winneshiek County Extension Field Agronomist Brian Lang says he doubts that even five percent of Winneshiek County farmers have been able to plant corn yet.  A statewide Iowa Crop Progress report says 40 percent of farmers statewide have planted corn, but farmers in north central and northeast Iowa are "well behind."

Lang says farmers south of Highway 18 are doing better than farmers here and farmers south of Highway 20 are doing better still.  Soil temperatures in Winneshiek County are now around 59 degrees, so the soil is plenty warm for planting, but four to five inches of rainfall last week has left fields too muddy for tractors--and more rain is predicted for the rest of this week.

Lang says the priority for farmers is getting corn in the ground because soybeans are more forgiving of a short season and alfalfa crops seem to be doing well.  He says May 25th is probably the date when farmers will have to decide whether they want to switch planting plans and go with a corn variety with a shorter maturity date.