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Planting Update from Southwest Iowa Farmer

Posted on May 3, 2013 at 10:29 AM by Iowa Corn


Warmer temperatures earlier this week allowed some farmers to begin planting corn, but Raymond Bruck, a corn and soybean farmer in Southwest Iowa is waiting.  My Dad has been farming for over 40 years in Harrison county and he believes the ground is still a bit cool.  Over the years, he has seen some good indicators that tell him when it’s time to plant.  This past weekend he told me when the barn swallow birds appear and the plum brush begins to bloom that signifies that the ground is warm enough to begin planting.  Unfortunately, he hasn't seen either of these in Southwest Iowa, but hopefully the warmer temperatures next week will help.  

At this time last year, he had most of his crop planted; still he isn't concerned about this year, just yet anyway.  If he compares this year to 2011, he really isn't that far behind.  He has a majority of his fertilizer applied and the recent rains have really helped the fertilizer soak into the soil.  

Raymond  sowing oats
When Mother Nature puts a damper on planting he has plenty to keep him busy.  April was cold and wet and allowed him to stay focused on his cows during calving season.  During the cold and wet months, it’s important for the calves to be brought to a warm and dry place so they can gain strength in a short period of time.  My Dad has also been working on a farm that he purchased this past year.  Tearing down a few old buildings and cleaning out trees has created some challenges as the ground still has a lot of rocks and tree branches.

On the weekends, when my brothers and sisters are home, we “get to” help get the ground ready to plant.  This past weekend my Dad sowed oats in a few areas that may not yield a good corn crop this year.  
Raymond picking up rocks and
 tree branches
“Recent snow fall has added extra moisture, which will help ease the drought, but steady rains will be needed after the corn and soybean crop is in the ground,” said Raymond.  Most of the states crop can be planted within a few weeks as long as the weather remains warm.  “If the corn crop is knee-high by July 4th it’ll produce good yields,” said Raymond.

Warmer temperatures are expected next week, which should warm up the soil.  Farmers around the state including my Dad are eager to get as much corn planted as they can before more spring showers (and hopefully no more snow) begin to fall. 

Janet Wilwerding is the communications manager for Iowa Corn. I grew up helping raise cattle and hogs and assisted in producing corn and soybeans.  Being the second oldest of six children allowed me to gain an appreciation for agriculture as I was often the one helping plant and harvest.  I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Marketing.  My husband and child live close to my families' farm so we get to help out whenever we can.

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