As we continue our annual trek across The Corn Belt, our next stop along Interstate-80 is in Western Iowa. Much of that part of the state could stand for a nice spring shower.
Farmers in Western Iowa said two weeks ago, conditions were a little wet but ideal. Now those farmers are saying we need heat and a good dry-down.
Don’t let this wind deceive you. Farmers in Western Iowa say they still need a dry-down.
“We’ve got plenty of moisture. We can stand to go without for a while,” said Odebolt, Iowa farmer, Matt Raasch.
Odebolt, Iowa farmer Matt Raasch has been playing catch-up this spring. A wet fall and early frost prevented him from getting field work done last year.
“We left some ruts and tracks in the field with combines we didn’t like to see. We had to get the crop out. That’s where we’re catching up and having to do some tillage we normally woudn’t,” said Raasch.
Now he hasn’t been able to do field work like this for about a week, due to a half-inch of rain and even three inches of snow.
"I always have this date in my mind when I want to go but that never works out. So we go by conditions and when we're ready to go," said Raasch.
He says the snow has since melted. There’s still field work to be done, but he has high hopes of rolling the planter at the end of the week. About two hours South, Randolph, Iowa farmer Julius Schaff is also needing heat and a dry-down.
“If there’s a mud ball like that, it’s just entirely too wet to plant,” said Schaff.
On top of this, Schaff has received about 3-quarters of rain. That’s a different story than what he saw last spring.
"Conditions were dry when we started last year. We were concerned what the season had to hold because we didn't have a wet spot anywhere," said Schaff.
The no-till farmer says he is holding back from planting too early. Last year’s late frost still stings. "That frost we had last year, that's still pretty fresh in our mind. Even though we did had good yields, it was tough to watch," said Schaff.
Schaff applied most of his fertilizer last fall. If the conditions are right, he hopes to start up next week.
"Last year we were concerned about dryness. This year, it's different because we have a full re-charge of moisture," said Schaff.
Both farmers say they don’t want to risk predicting the markets, so they’re sticking to their crop rotations.
“We've stuck with the same rotation as normal, pretty much corn going back to soybeans and vice versa," said Raasch.
"This year is a little bigger soybean year but it's not by design. That's the way our rotation is," said Schaff.
A spring they may not be used to as these farmers play the waiting game to get in the fields. Next week, we will continue our I-80 Planting Tour to the other side of the Hawkeye State, talking to producers and checking on conditions there as well.