Field work windows overlapping

The short growing season will make for some hectic days, especially in the next several weeks.

Scouting, said Rachel Halbach, an agronomist for Hagie Manufacturing in Clarion, is key throughout any season, but especially becomes more necessary with delayed planting.

Halbach, a former agronomist for North Central Cooperative in Clarion, said that growers will have a hectic time since the windows of several types of field work will be overlapping.

Not all of Iowa’s corn got into the ground by the time another several-day-long rainy spell settled in on May 24. Soybeans will be next on the planting agenda, but post-emergence spraying on corn will have to get done, plus the first cutting of hay is also looming. And if low-lying corn fields, or those that get ponding have to be replanted, there’s another job waiting to gobble up precious time.

Farmers in the Farm News coverage area had a four-day rainless window before the Memorial weekend storms rolled over Iowa. Corn planting jumped from 15 percent to 71 percent in a single week.

But with just a few days to plant last week, progress was halted again on May 24, with forecasts calling for more rain through today.

Irvy Badger, of Moorland, had his 12-row planter out on a 35-acre field on the east edge of Fort Dodge on May 23. He’s feeling the pressure to get the crop into ground enough to be putting seeds into soil he described as “a little bit mucky.”

Digging down to a depth of between 3 and 4 inches, he found a corn seed and noted the amount of moisture.

“I’m afraid of my side-wall compaction,” Badger said. “But I had to take advantage of the sunshine since I fertilized a week earlier.

“I’m committed to corn now.”

Mark Muench, of Muench Farms Grain and Cattle Co., in rural Ogden, in Boone County, was also getting his corn acres in on the morning of May 24, even though “in an normal year I’d wait another day or two,” he said, “but it’s getting so late. We’re just going to get it done.”

Muench, who has been growing all corn for the past five years, may have to make a switch if he’s delayed much longer.

“I’ll be planting corn until June 1 or maybe even June 5,” Muench said. “We may have to plant beans in some fields.

“We’re running around the clock. I was planting until 3 a.m. last night.”

He said he’s typically one of the last of his contemporaries that finishes spring planting.

“I’ve never got a trophy for being first,” Muench said. “I get paid in yield.”

Kirk Pisel, of Gilmore City, was hustling to fill his planter boxes with 105-day Dekalb seeds and get as many acres planted as possible on May 24 before the forecasted rain storms arrived.

“I enjoyed the drought much better,” Pisel said. If he finished his field, about five miles west of Gilmore City, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 3 and Iowa Highway 15, he would have just another 80 acres of corn to plant.

But then he still has soybeans to plant in rural Pioneer, “and it’s wetter there than up here,” he said.

His wife ran tillage iron ahead of him because the soil at seed depth was wetter than he cared for. “But if you can dry it out, it’s OK.

“But I don’t know how these no-till and strip-till guys do it in conditions like this.”