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Waiting on Weather
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 1:51PM CDT

By Cheri Zagurski
DTN Managing Editor

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." -- Charles Dudley Warner

Good ol' Chuck -- journalist in the late 1800s and friend of Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain -- he hit the nail with his head on that one. Much like some of our readers might have considered beating their heads on the wall as they waited out weather they could do nothing about during the past week or so.

In northwest Missouri, fieldwork was possible at the end of last week, but the weekend put a stop to that. "We were able to run Wednesday through Friday," reported Bob Birdsell of Stanberry. "We didn't get any corn planted, although there was some put into the ground. We lacked one day of getting done with anhydrous, then a day and a half for an older friend. We had a half-inch of rain on Saturday then another inch last night (Monday). We missed the heavy rains, though there were lots of flood watches and warnings last night in the St. Joe and KC areas and east. ... Stay safe and sane!"

In northern Illinois, Keith Landis of Sterling, said rains were welcome. "Here in northern Illinois a good share of the corn has gone in this past week before the rain," he wrote DTN. "Here we got 2.5-3 inches of nice rain. We were dry and needed the moisture. The temperatures warmed a bit also so the pastures and the winter wheat look pretty good. Time to fix fences and let the dairy cows out."

Farther south in the center of Illinois, Cory Ritter of Blue Mound says more moisture is needed. "Corn planting is pretty much wrapped up in central Illinois," he wrote DTN. "Bean planting is progressing very quickly. I would guess it's over 50% complete. Most will finish this week. These warm temps have caused the corn to pop out of the ground everywhere. It's always nice to see after many fields had corn in two weeks before it decided to show up. A rain would be welcomed... The ground that has been worked more than once is getting dry. I know the north part of the county is really needing a drink."

Also in the center of Illinois, near Decatur, Jeff Stocks agreed that more moisture is needed. "We got a couple of tenths early this morning," he wrote Monday. "Very beneficial shower and we could use a little more. Only beans unplanted are waiting on moisture. Going from 40s to 80s has made for some weed control issues for us no-tillers. A large portion of the corn is emerged here."

In neighboring Indiana, Scott Wallis of Princeton said rain has not been an issue. "No rain here this past week or none forecasted this next week. Would estimate corn 50%-60% done, beans 10%. By week's end corn should be 90%, beans 50%."

Rain stayed away from Jefferson in west-central Iowa until Monday night, wrote Pete Bardole. "We got an extra day of planting," he said. "It didn't rain us out till Monday evening.

"We finished the corn on Saturday and got things ready to plant soybeans. My oldest son was confirmed in church on Sunday so we were busy out of the field. Monday we drilled 110 acres of soybeans, a good start."

Despite that bit of good luck, Bardole foresees some replanting in his area. "I already saw one field that has been partially replanted and I think there will be some whole fields that are replanted in the end," he wrote. "The fields that were harvested when it was too wet, then worked when it was too wet last fall and again this spring are having trouble coming up. Still, I think 95% of the corn is in and 10% of the soybeans."

Corn emergence in early planted fields is seeing some problems, in south-central Minnesota near Wells, reported Mark Nowak. "The post 'cold weather' planting run started on April 27. About 30% of corn in the area was planted before the cold snap. Planters have run hard the last week. All of the corn was pretty much in by Friday, May 1, and everyone jumped right to soybeans. 90% of the soybeans are planted as of this morning.

"Sunday afternoon a storm system brought rain and hail 20 to 80 miles north of Wells all the way up to the Twin Cities. It then converged with a system out of Iowa near Albert Lea where it rained from 0.7 inch to one report of 2.5 inches. Here at Nowak Farms, 20 miles straight west of Albert Lea, not a drop of rain. So planters were rolling again all day Monday.

"Now that planting is near wrapped up, a nice GENTLE rain would be appreciated. Subsoil moisture is still good with tile having a light flow. Most area farmers are saying 'earliest done ever.' It was kind of interesting planting. Normally when planting is stretched out you can see corn rows or some emergence from the planter tractor. This year, even the April 12-16 corn is not emerged.

"So, from the tractor, seeing nearly every acre planted but no plant emergence yet. But should start to see corn emerging starting any time as the last 4-5 days have been nicely warm.

"My DTN AG Weather Station, Magnum 1, reports 90 GDDs since I started planting on April 27. It takes about 125 GDDs to emerge corn. So would expect some spiking by this weekend, if we hang in the low 70s. So, overall, a nice fast start. This aggressive planting season for Minnesota was predicted. Now bring on El Nino and a good growing season."

In west-central Minnesota, planting is moving along, according to Dave Tollefson of Starbuck. "Several guys done with corn and working on soybeans already here in Pope County," he wrote. "Everything green, wheat all up, some corn peeking through, alfalfa looking good, trees in mostly full leaves. But then the mosquitoes are already out, too. Was in the field Saturday night, tried opening a window for some air, and mosquitos coming inside quickly caused me to shut the window and turn on the air conditioning."

In west-central Michigan, "early" corn planting just started this past weekend. Phil Carter of New Era reports that he may get to start corn planting this coming weekend.

"I only recorded 0.2 inches of rain that fell Sunday night so most were back in the fields today (Monday)," Phil wrote DTN. "Corn planting for a lot of guys started last Thursday and Friday. (I haven't started yet but hopefully this weekend). Put another apple spray (fungicides) on last Friday, we are now in tight cluster. Temperatures are finally warming up and we should be in pink (condition of the blossoms) by the weekend or next week. We will be putting our first shot of insecticides on then, primarily for aphids. It's finally looking like springtime in west-central Michigan."

Farther south, in north-central Kansas, lack of rain is still a problem, according to Doug Zillinger of Logan. "Currently no rain since last week," he wrote Monday, "but lots of hope for rain as it is overcast. Some fieldwork starting and lots of machinery is being serviced up. Cows are being moved to grass. Pastures that were not overgrazed, which are hard to find, are growing nicely."

Former View From the Cab participant Jamie Harris of Madison in north-central Florida, reports that sweetcorn will be ready in two weeks. (Call me jealous.) "We went from really wet all through March and April to no rain in forecast for 10 days. Crops look really good. Irrigated corn is about 15 days from tassel and we will be harvesting fresh sweetcorn in about two weeks. Our watermelons are setting very nicely with some softball-sized fruit already. Everyone in this area is busy planting peanuts before the moisture leaves and in our sand that's probably by week's end."

And finally, we'll end with Crawford McFetridge, reader from the Finger Lakes area of New York who always has something interesting to say -- some of it a wee bit sarcastic. (I don't share ALL of it!) "As for the guys around here I think 'Cranky Pants Season' has come to an end. Tonight's (Monday) rain will be the decider of that. Light rain OK. A lot [of rain?] Oh well, back in the shop. Remember guys plant hedgerow to hedgerow!"

If you'd like to join our reader email group, send me a note at cheri.zagurski@dtn.com


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