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2017 corn planting season comes to an end

By Staff | May 19, 2017

SPRING MEANS NEW LIFE; in this case, emerging corn plants poke through the soil to greet the new growing season. This photo was taken May 10 in a field near Milford that was planted April 23. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows no signs of dryness in the Midwest. USDA estimates 90 million U.S. corn acres planted in 2017, with 13.8 billion bushels harvested, which they said was in line with the four-year average total use. This would mean carryover would remain strong going into 2018.



Warmer, drier conditions allowed for farmers to be out in the fields in full force the past few weeks, wrapping up corn planting and getting a big start on planting soybeans.

Now, as those corn plants begin to emerge, experts recommend scouting those fields, checking for stand counts and any other issues those small plants may be experiencing after a cold, wet spring and as insects may begin feeding.

Angela Rieck-Hinz, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist for counties including Calhoun, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin, Humboldt and Wright said planting is progressing nicely in her area, with few issues.

“There are small, localized areas where field conditions are still wet and they are delaying planting,” said Rieck-Hinz. “Corn is 95 percent planted, soybeans around 60-70 percent planted, as of May 15, and corn is ranging from V3 to newly planted.”

Rieck-Hinz said that although some of the corn sat in the ground for an extended period of time, it seems to be emerging fairly well.

“Generally speaking, the corn that was planted the week of April 11 looks good, considering it took nearly three weeks to get out of the ground,” she said. “Corn planted right before the cold, wet snap of April 27 through May 1 also looks ok. There was some plant loss due to emergence issues, but I have not seen anything that warranted a replant decision.”

As the growing season progresses, this next week, it is time to be out scouting for any insect feedings, according to Rieck-Hinz.

“Farmers should scout for black cutworm feeding from now until V5,” she said. “Although moth capture has been low in Iowa, scouting offers the best opportunity to assess the conditions.”

Mark S. Johnson, region 7 ISU Extension field agronomist covering counties including Boone, Carroll, Dallas, Greene, Jasper, Marshall, and Polk, said planting is coming to a conclusion in the majority of his area, with the exception of some areas that may have been hit with more precipitation than others.

“I cover nine counties, and most of them are pretty much done planting corn and some areas are finishing up with soybeans,” said Johnson. “There are pockets in each of them that differ from the whole.”

The wet, cool weather conditions from this spring, so far, does not seem to be affecting corn emergence in those areas.

“I have not seen any issues and I have not received any calls on any issues,” he said. “The fields I have been in look good. Stands are not showing gaps and I haven’t seen any seedling diseases.”

Johnson anticipates there could be some areas with poor stands, but he has not seen any of those firsthand quite yet, assuming there will be very little replant in his area.

Joel DeJong, Region 1 ISU field agronomist, covering counties including Cherokee, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth and Woodbury, said there has been tremendous progress with planting in those counties.

As of Monday, DeJong predicted that 98 percent of the corn is in the ground, with an estimated 60 percent or more of soybeans planted as well.

“It’s amazing how much of the crop can get planted when the conditions are right,” said DeJong.

The April 11 corn that was planted is mostly merged and is looking pretty good as is the corn planted later during the April 22 through 24 timeframe, according to DeJong. Although the majority of the corn seems to be emerging with out any problems, there has been some concern with others.

“There has been some occasional issues in fields where there are some stand establishment issues, but overall, the corn seems to be coming up,” said DeJong.

He anticipates he will be out in the field this week performing stand checks, as he gets requested to do so, and encourages producers to do the same.

“Now is the time to get out and check for emergence, digging up those seeds to see why they are not emerging and doing stand counts,” he said.

The first cutting of alfalfa should be happening within a week or so, DeJong estimates.

So far, he has not had any reports of insect damage, but as the corn emerges, to be on the lookout for black cutworm feeding.

“We have had very erratic black cutworm moth counts coming up from the south, so that makes it hard to know when they might become and issue,” he said. “As corn emerges, monitor those fields and always keep an eye on fields near grassy areas.”

Grassy areas, including those fields with cover crops, even after the cover crop has been killed off, can make for the type of conditions these insects are after, including the armyworm, DeJong said.

“As cover crops are killed off, and corn emerges, those army worms may move in to those fields,” said DeJong.

The armyworm will defoliate the emerged corn, and can be controlled with an insecticide if caught early on, whereas the black cutworm may feed on the plant underground and damage not be as noticeable.

Paul Kassel, ISU Extension field agronomist in Region 2, covering counties including Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Hancock, Kossuth, Pocahontas, Sac and Winnebago counties, said there has been a lot of crop planting progress in his area as well.

“The corn is mostly planted, and the corn that was planted in April is emerging,” he said. “Also corn that was planted May 5, 6 and 7 is emerging as well.”

He predicts the soybean planting has progressed to about half way done, while some of the larger acre operations in his area have their soybean planting complete.

Kassel added that there doesn’t seem to be any emergence or stand issues and insect pressure hasn’t started to occur either.

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