Iowa crop conditions improved by drier weather

Warmer and mostly drier weather is helping Iowa farmers near completion of corn and soybean planting and improving crop conditions.

The Department of Agriculture says 99 percent of the corn crop is in the ground as of Sunday and 96 percent of the crop has emerged, which is three weeks behind normal.

Warm humid days helped corn improve. The good to excellent rating increased 3 percentage points with 57 percent of the crop now rated in those two categories and 29 percent is fair. Fourteen percent is poor or very poor.

Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop has been planted, about two weeks later than normal. Eighty-nine percent of the soybean crop has emerged, eight percentage points behind the five-year average.

The condition of soybeans also improved slightly.

Iowa farmers planted more soybeans and less corn than intended due to a record wet spring, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acreage Report released June 28.

The report estimates the stateâ??s farmers planted 9.5 million acres of soybeans, up 100,000 acres from March intentions. Iowa farmers planted 9.35 million acres of soybeans in 2012. An estimated 14 million acres of corn were planted, down 200,000 acres from March intentions, according to the report.

It has been a challenging year, to say the least.

The northern tier of the state, along with portions of central Iowa, is likely to have the most prevent plant acres, crop experts say. Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) members in Mitchell and Howard counties, after consulting with agricultural retailers, estimate a small percentage of intended soybean acres in each county wonâ??t be planted, but 30 percent of intended corn acres wonâ??t be seeded.

ISA board member Wayne Fredericks of rural Osage only has 60 acres of soybeans to plant out of nearly 1,000 split between soybeans and corn. He says this is the most difficult, gut-wrenching planting season since he started farming in 1973. â??You can see the [frustration] on peopleâ??s faces,â?? Fredericks says. â??You can drive for three miles and have fields on each side not planted. Maybe the market will realize [it] â?¦â??

Mark Jackson, ISA president and farmer from Rose Hill, encourages farmers to remain focused on their marketing efforts.

â??The adage â??rain makes grainâ?? is a dominant theme on tradersâ?? minds and will likely pressure price cycles throughout the 2013 marketing season,â?? Jackson said. â??This is little consolation to farmers with mixed crop conditions. But a reminder to utilize the expertise of the Iowa Soybean Association to maximize crop maintenance decisions in another difficult cropping season.â??

The Iowa Soybean Association offers resources including:

· a continually-updated Soybean Planting Brief

· a new weed management resource called â??Take Actionâ??

· an ISA Bean Blog documenting member activity, soybeans and other ag issues

Nationally, the USDA report offered a record-high estimate of 77.7 million acres of soybeans planted, up 1 percent from last year. The USDA Grain Stocks Report released June 28 estimates the nationâ??s soybean reserves at 435 million bushels, down 35 percent from a year ago.

Some information provided by: Iowa Soybean Association