By George C. Ford, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Iowa farmers planted 54 percent of this season's corn crop in the week that ended Sunday, the largest percentage planted during the same week in more than 20 years.
That brings the total so far to 68 percent, eight days ahead of last year and the five-year average. Farmers in central Iowa led the way with 80 percent of their corn crop planted.
"Conditions were nearly ideal in much of the state last week and farmers were able to make tremendous progress," said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey in a news release.
Despite the progress made in planting corn, emergence remains behind normal.
Soybean planting is 11 percent complete, five days ahead of 2014 and four days ahead of the five-year average. Iowa farmers are expected to plant more soybeans this year to offset the lower prices they would receive for corn.
Ninety-six percent of the oat crop has been seeded, nearly two weeks ahead of last year, and 12 days ahead of normal. Oats emerged reached 63 percent, one week ahead of last year, and four days ahead of normal.
Topsoil moisture levels were rated 11 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 2 percent very short, 13 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.
North central Iowa reported the highest topsoil moisture level with 99 percent rated adequate to surplus. Pasture condition improved to 64 percent good to excellent. Pastures are starting to improve with the warmer temperatures.
At the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, many consignors are sold out for the year. The quality of the hay coming in is variable and that's reflected in the prices.
Top price last Wednesday was $170 per ton paid for a single load of fourth crop small square bales.
See how your region stacks up on AgWeb's Corn Planting Map.