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Eastern Iowa farmers rush to plant their seeds during heat wave

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WEST BRANCH, Iowa (KWWL) - With frost advisories and what felt like constant rain throughout April, planting crops was not easy.

"We always have plenty of work to do, but there was times where it was like, 'Jeez, I wish we could get the corn planter rolling,'" Ray Slach said, who farms along the Cedar/Johnson County line. 

Slach says they did start planting beans for a few days at the start of April, but plans had to change quickly.

"About four weeks ago we started sticking beans in the ground and of course, the day we did that, the next morning it was 30 degrees," Slach said. "Then of course the rain came and it stopped us. And we were happy we had beans in and not corn, because corn doesn't take cold weather or cold rain."

That game of red light green light finally stopped this Saturday, when temperatures reached 70 degrees and there was no rain to be found.

Since Saturday, Slach and his crew have been planting dawn to dusk. He said on Thursday they had 80% of their crops in.

"Now the water's shut off and we're dropping the planter lower and lower just to follow the moisture in the ground," Slach said. "Once we get the crops in, then we want it to rain."

Despite the late start to the year, Slach says he's very optimistic for the season. A big part of that has to do with near record-high crop prices. On average across Iowa, corn finished at $7.8 per bushel Thursday and beans at $15.7, both are numbers rarely heard in the industry.

Prices will likely dip over the summer --Slach is hoping not as much as the summer of 2021. But if yield is on par with last year, he thinks it will be a good year.

"Especially if you get 225 bushel per acre, that looks really good. But, you gotta get it in the ground first," Slach said.

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