Northwest Iowa — The warm, dry weather of the past several days have had some area farmers itching to get into their fields for an early start on their spring field work.
Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist Joel DeJong says the dry conditions should make the early field work easier.
(As above) “Since it’s dry, it’s been easier so far to get some of that work done. But I hope we continue to get some rain into the mix. We had some nice precipitation so far this spring, (but) we could use another half-dozen days where we get an inch-and-a-half every day just to try to build…because our soil moisture supply is really quite short, so if we don’t get some build-back of that moisture this spring it’s going to be a little bit tougher to get timely rains this summer that we’re really going to need. So we’re hoping that we get rained out of the field a few times, and it kind of looks like we will this week and I certainly hope that’s going to be true.”
While some area farmers are getting an early start on field work, there’s one thing DeJong says he hope’s they’re NOT doing right now.
(As above) “Well, I’m hoping that nobody decides to start planting yet, although the old rumor mill says maybe one or two have planted a few acres. Field conditions for doing tillage seem to be pretty decent, so some of them have been out there to get that work started. If they’ve got a lot of acres to do, maybe they’re trying to manage some time.”
He says it’s still early to start planting, especially considering the fact there’s still a pretty good chance for damaging frost yet this spring.
(As above) “In reality, it’s still very, very early. At this stage I don’t encourage anybody to start planting yet. We still have a decent shot to have some damaging frost to happen at the end of the month. We aren’t going to accumulate growing degree days very fast through the month of April, so you’re not going to see a lot of progress with movement of the seed in the soil. And it’s still really early, we’ve got a big window of opportunity for a lot of people, so I’m hoping that they hold off a little bit. But, some are going to get going and just keep the system moving. I know that’s going to happen.”
DeJong is a Crops Specialist for Iowa State University Extension serving a large part of northwest Iowa, including O’Brien, Osceola, Lyon, Sioux and Plymouth Counties.