The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

May 6, 2013

Corn crop planting underway

OTTUMWA — Last week wasn't a total loss for Iowa farmers, despite a record breaking snowstorm.

Dry, warm weather helped during the first half of the week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers were able to get into the fields, at least until the snow started falling.

After weeks of delay, the corn crop is finally getting planted. Eight percent of the crop is in the ground, well behind the 62 percent planted at this time last year and the 56 percent five-year average. Officials say this marks the latest planting since 1995.

Oats are doing better, with 67 percent planted. This time last year it was complete.

The good news is that soil moisture has rebounded from last year's drought. Now the challenge is too much of a good thing. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker reported last week was the third out of the past four with “unusually heavy precipitation.”

In Southeast Iowa 56 percent of the topsoil had surplus moisture. Forty-three percent had adequate moisture.

Subsoil conditions recovered more slowly, but they aren't as wet now, either. Sixty-five percent of southeast Iowa farm acres have adequate subsoil moisture.

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