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Tillable Farmland Managers Ross Albert and Mason Troendle have monitored crop progress this season. In early May, farmers were still waiting to plant. However, things seem to be in full swing, and the good weather has presented farmers with the chance to work overtime to get crops in the ground.

According to the most recent USDA crop progress report, states like Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas are caught up to the five-year average for corn and soybeans. Minnesota lags behind the five-year average by 26% in corn-planted acres, and 40% in soybean planted acres. The state has received excessive rainfall and is experiencing unseasonably low temperatures. Some areas of the state have seen lows in the 30s within the last week. 

“I estimate that 95% of the acres are planted in my area,” Says Albert, who farms in Central Illinois. “Several acres planted in April got replanted, and the mid-May crops look very good. Two weeks ago, the high heat brought on a heavy flush of weeds. I have jumped back in the sprayer for postemergence applications. We are shifting from getting the crop established to protect the crop from pests. It’s that time of year when you might need to be doing a little replanting, spraying, side-dressing, and cutting hay simultaneously,” says Albert. 

Cold rains this week could slow down soybean growth and emergence, but next week looks to be sunny and significantly warmer. The sun and heat will allow both crops to utilize the moisture from these spring rains and progress quickly over the next 14 days. Due to the abundance of acres that have been planted just in the last two weeks, most areas are behind on the percentage of acres that the crop has emerged, but warm weather in the forecast next week will help that number catch up quickly. 

We are off to a good start with rainfall. Last year, the drought monitor showed large areas of the corn belt in “abnormally dry” soil moisture conditions. This spring has shrunk those areas in the midwest. Only a small area in west-central Iowa and a strip at the Minnesota/Iowa border, and the Wisconsin/Illinois border have had lower than normal moisture levels this year, but this will change throughout the growing season.

You can view the drought monitor website here: https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

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