WIUM Tristates Public Radio

SE Iowa Farmers Looking For Heat

Mt. Pleasant, IA – Bob Dodds with Iowa State University Extension says the first few weeks of April had farmers looking forward to an ideal planting season. Then came several weeks of heavy rain.

Dodds says farmers are now trying to decide whether they will have to replant because of water damage. He says help could be on the way, though, if temperatures remain high.

"90 degree temperatures or even high 80's with a slight wind," said Dodds, "and it will be a little surprising to all of us how quickly this upper 6" of soil will dry out."

Dodds says 7-10 days without rain is needed. He says after two weeks, though, farmers will be asking for rain again.

Historically, farmers hope to have their corn in the ground by May 25. At this point, about 75% of the corn crop in southeast Iowa has been planted.

Dodds says the rain has led some farmers to look for more short-season seeds. He says the planting season would then last about 105 days, as opposed to the standard 115 day season.

Farmers are willing to trade a high yield, this year, for dry corn. The cost of drying wet corn took its toll on local farmers one year ago.

Dodds says there are still a few fields in southeast Iowa that are unusable after the flood of 2008. He says other farmers have had to move away from corn and focus on soybeans because of field damage.

Dodds says about 20% of the soybean fields are planted at this point.