Expert: Time To Get Ready For Spring Planting

tractor rear tireNorthwest Iowa — The recent roller coaster changes in weather may have you wondering what season it actually is.

Recent weather has teased us with spring, and then blasted us with winter. Basically that’s a normal March in Iowa. But the tastes of spring that we’ve had have been reminding farmers that spring fieldwork is right around the corner.

We had a chance to visit with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach crop field specialist, Joel DeJong, who says it’s time to get ready.

Last year, the planting window of opportunity was a small one. DeJong says that’s why he encourages farmers to make two plans — one if we have a normal spring, and one for if the planting window is shortened.

Another thing that affects planting time is the date of the final frost, says DeJong.

He says a number of farmers also look at how many suitable days in the field can be expected during each week. He says data on that is available from the National Agriculture Statistics Service.

DeJong says while we don’t know how much rain will fall or where it will fall, we do know that as of November, we already had above average subsoil moisture in northwest Iowa.

DeJong says on average, there are only about 12 suitable days in the optimal planting window.

ISU’s Ag Decision Maker web page (, under the crops/machinery tab, has more information on matching equipment to the needs you have for being timely at planting time.

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