Extension News

How Much Corn Planted in Iowa Depends on Location

5/7/2008

AMES, Iowa -- According to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, 18 percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been planted, well behind the 42 percent that had been planted a year ago and the five-year average of 64 percent. However, those percentages don’t explain where the corn has been planted, say Iowa State University Extension specialists.

“What the statewide percentages don’t reflect is the majority of the corn planted is along the western side of state,” said Roger Elmore, ISU Extension corn agronomist.

The crop planting progress report was released May 5 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, USDA.

Some farmers in western Iowa are nearly done planting corn, Elmore said, with virtually no corn planted in central Iowa when the data were collected for the USDA report.

“Earlier this week it was a different story, as central Iowa farmers were getting in the fields. Unfortunately, Tuesday night rains will again slow planting progress for a good share of Iowa’s corn growers,” Elmore said.

It looks like Iowa farmers will have a window of opportunity to get corn planted, said Elwynn Taylor, ISU Extension climatologist. The new six to 10-day outlook from the National Weather Service shows a drier weather pattern after Thursday, May 8.

Elmore is looking forward to drier weather to get his ISU Extension research plots planted. “The most important day in the corn plant’s life is the day it’s planted. The optimum yield potential is imbedded in the genetics of that seed. When you put it in a poor environment you are going to get poor results,” he said.

“The research plots are timed, many of them, because we want to be able to know the effect of early, standard and late planting,” Taylor said. But sometimes the weather does not cooperate.

“Sometimes we get the early planting data; sometimes we do not, because we don’t want to destroy the plot or the potential for that plot by planting when the weather is not ideal. These are all important considerations in research and production,” Taylor said.

Listen to the complete interview with Elmore and Taylor recorded on May 5 (time 28:30).

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Contacts :

Roger Elmore, Agronomy, (515) 294-6655, relmore@iastate.edu

Elwynn Taylor, Agronomy, (515) 294-7839, setaylor@iastate.edu

Douglas Cooper, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-6275, levachek@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu