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2010 on a record planting pace

By Staff | Apr 30, 2010

Corn shoots peak from the ground Wednesday morning in a field three miles south of Fort Dodge. Central Iowa reported that 81 percent of its corn has been planted already, a record pace for April.

AccuWeather.com reported Wednesday that forecasted heavy rain in the Midwest through this weekend could slow the record early planting pace of the spring corn crop.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship reported Monday that 55 percent of the crop was in the ground statewide, with central Iowa reporting 81 percent planting completed.

The current system plaguing the Pacific Northwest will move across the nation’s midsection, bringing heavy rain early this weekend through early next week.

While planting may be slowed, soil moisture will be enhanced significantly.

According to the USDA, a record-breaking 50 percent of the U.S. corn crop has been planted as of Sunday, with 31 percent planted within last week.

Top corn-producing states of Iowa and Illinois currently have more than half of their corn crops planted.

Meteorologists suggest drier-than-normal early spring conditions helped farmers jump-start corn planting this year.

An early start to corn planting doesn’t necessarily mean an ideal final crop and 2009’s high yield despite a late start is a good example.

“The most important consideration for a good corn crop is the weather leading up to the harvest period,” said AccuWeather.com Agricultural Meteorologist Dale Mohler.

Consistent rain through the summer, ideally three-quarters to 1 inch of rain per week, hot days with highs in the 80s and nighttime lows in the 60s can lead to the best corn yield.

This season’s early planting sharply contrasts last year’s late planting, in which 20 percent was planted by this growth period. The planting was primarily delayed by spring rains.

“April and May were very wet in the prime corn-planting states last year,” said Mohler. “Planting was a month behind schedule, but near-perfect summer weather yielded a good crop.”

Soybeans

While soybeans are currently in their early planting stages, the Midwestern weather has yielded an earlier-than-normal planting start for the crop.

Similar to the impacts made to corn planting, upcoming weekend rains throughout the Central states could slow the early planting of soybeans.

Winter Wheat

Meteorologists forecast the weather to remain favorable for winter wheat, which is also grown in the Midwest.

Ideal winter wheat growing conditions include consistent rainfall of up to three-quarters of an inch of rain per week, with high temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees.

The USDA’s latest report said 69 percent of the winter wheat crop is in good or excellent condition.

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