Wet weather means delay in planting - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wet weather means delay in planting


Time is running dry for farmers waiting to get their corn planted.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said cool, wet weather has slowed fieldwork for much of the state.

Craig Recker is a corn and beef farmer in Dubuque County.

"Today with the breeze, if we had the sun, it would really dry this ground out," Recker said, walking through his muddy field Thursday. "With the weather forecast, it doesn't sound like that's going to happen any time soon."

Recker farms about 800 acres of corn, none of which are planted.

"The soil conditions now are way too wet, but if we could get two, three days of dry, warm weather, it would dry out and we could make pretty good time," Recker said. "If the ground's too wet, you get side wall compaction, and all that affects your yield through the summer. Your corn just won't do as good, so it's pretty crucial to have dry weather while you're planting, actually."

Northey said in his weekly report on Monday, only two percent of Iowa's corn was actually in the ground. Compare that to 16 percent at this time last year.

This doesn't just impact grain farmers.

Recker is raising 3,500 beef cattle at any given point. All the corn he grows goes to feed, so a poor crop yield means he'd have to buy more grain for his animals.

"The more corn we can get in the fall, the less I got to buy in the winter and through the spring months," he said.

Farmers can't afford to wait on the weather much longer.

"If this weather continues to drag on, raining every other day and not warming up, another four to five days or a week out here, then it will start cutting into our yield potential in the fall," Recker said.

The cool, damp weather is also dangerous to newborn calves, Northey said. Some calves have contracted illnesses, and pastures have been slow to grow.

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