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Nationally, we haven’t seen such a paltry amount of seed in the ground this time of year since 1984.

I knew it was a late planting season, but had no idea that 1984 was the last year to compare it too. That's 29 years ago and I didn't even own much farmland in 1984, only 80 acres that I cash rented out. It wasn't till 1986 that I started buying farmland as an investment, so I have no idea what the 1984 Planting season was like, but it must have had some major issues. Perhaps there are some "OLD-TIMERS" on here that remember the 1984 planting season and can update us what the problems were for the 1984 Planting season. Was it too wet, cold, ect. in 1984?????????????

Anyway, an article in the local Iowa paper about the 2013 planting season, or better discription, a complete lack of planting so far in 2013. Article is below:



Corn planting gets a late start


Cold, soggy spring might dampen yield


RIPPEY, IA. — Roy Bardole planted a few hundred acres of corn early this week on his 2,000-acre farm near Rippey.

That normally wouldn’t seem like a big deal this time of year, but a cold, rainy, snowy spring has made it tough for farmers to get started on the biggest corn planting since 1936.

In fact, the planting season is off to its slowest start since flood-wracked 1993, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports. Nationally, we haven’t seen such a paltry amount of seed in the ground this time of year since 1984.

This spring’s fickle weather has analysts wondering if the near-record corn planting that seems to be in store will result in a lesser yield than expected. That could affect more than just the corn market, with everything from ethanol production to beef prices hanging in the balance.

Bardole and his son, Tim, managed to get 420 acres planted by the end of Tuesday, then parked the planter for the week as 6 inches of snow fell on his farm.

Still, the Bardoles fared far better than many. For example, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey planned to wait until next week to plant on his Spirit Lake farm, hoping for warmer, drier soil. He had plenty of company.

Farmers are eager to plant big this year to replenish corn stores depleted by last year’s drought-reduced yields — and because grain prices still are relatively high.

The USDA expects up to 97 million corn acres nationally, up from the average of 88 million to 90 million. About 14.2 million of that will be in Iowa.

Planting next week still gives farmers time to get much of the seed in the ground before Friday, the informal deadline set by Iowa State University for farmers who want a full yield. But they are likely to plant into the week after.

As this week began, Iowa corn farmers had 2 percent of the seed in the ground, down from the average of 36 percent.

Don Roose of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines estimated that 20 percent of the corn will be planted by Sunday.

Past that, it’s hard to predict, with the National Weather Service saying it’s a coin flip whether we are in for a wetter early summer, or a drier one.

Roose said that in 1993, 27 percent of the corn was planted by May 12, but flooding and other challenges cut yields by 15 percent.

In 1994, 26 percent was planted by the same date, and we ended up with 3 percent more yield than average.

“We certainly are late” planting, Roose said. “But there really are not statistics that say yet that you will have a big yield loss. We aren’t there yet.”

With corn prices still depressed by the prospect of a big crop, ethanol plants have already begun to bump up production, pork and poultry operations are expanding, and boxed beef is near an all-time-high price, USDA records show.

“This is a market that is ready to run, it just doesn’t know which way to go yet,” said Chad Hart, Extension economist at Iowa State University. “That is the key. There is a lot of uncertainty.”

“We have the potential for a bin-buster crop,” Hart said. “But we are having troubles getting in the field. And the drought is still having an effect.”

“What I worry about is we may get the crops started with the moisture we have, but we may not have the moisture to keep them going,” Hart said. “We could see yields at or below last year,” if things get dry.

Farmer Bardole agreed: “We live in Iowa!” he exclaimed, stretching out both arms and grinning. “It could rain every day all summer, and we drown out whatever. Or, we shut off the rain and it gets dry. We live in Iowa. We live at the mercy of the weather.”

Hart said he’s guessing the late planting will mean a drop of 1 percent to 2 percent in yield in Iowa. Still, last year’s Iowa average yield of 137 bushels per acre should balloon to 170 this year, still a bit shy of what many farmers want.

Nationally, Hart expects an average of 140, up from 123 last year.

Still, it is likely to be a profitable year for farmers.

“While there is a lot of uncertainty, the economic outlook looks decent” if not great, Hart said. He considers the current prices of $5-per-bushel corn and between $11 and $12 for soybeans profitable, considering production costs of $4.50 per bushel for corn and $11 for soybeans.

On the other hand, if summer heat bakes Iowa again, the yields could be worse than last year because subsoil water supplies were tapped out last year by drought and the crops, and they haven’t been fully replenished. That takes longer to accomplish than soaking the topsoil, now in good shape in all but the Missouri River counties. A dry summer would change everything, Hart said.

The planting delays came after drought-hardened Iowa finally got rain, and it came in sheets for a while. Fields are soggy. And temperatures have been below normal, making farmers skittish about planting corn in cold, soaked soil.

Bardole, 69, and his son, Tim, 45, had to stop several times Tuesday, their second day of planting, to knock mud off the planter. “Ah, I didn’t expect it to be this wet,” Roy said.

He decided to side on the lessons of old-school Iowa agriculture. The wisdom goes that it’s the last week of April or later, you plant, and you don’t worry if temperatures are above the 50 degrees needed for good germination. It will warm up soon enough.

“I am not afraid of cold temperatures on the 1st of May,” Bardole said. “It is amazing what the old sun will do.”





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