I-80 Planting Tour 2017: Planters are Rolling in Eastern Iowa

USDA says Iowa is behind on planting progress in both corn and soybeans, but that’s changing fast. In the last week, farmers planted 20 to 25 percent of intended acreage thanks to improving weather. 

Mother Nature is finally giving producers a good window to plant and producers in eastern Iowa are taking advantage of it. 

One week ago, seed was being moved in Waverly, Iowa, everywhere but in the ground. 

“We’ve just been cold and wet,” said Marc Mummelthei, a Waverly farmer.

Mummelthei finished planting corn and beans by May last year. A week ago, he didn’t have a single seed in the soil. 

“We want to plant to a ten-day forecast that’s favorable,” said Mummelthei. “We want to plant into good soil temperatures and good soil conditions. We’ve had a really tough spring getting those three in alignment.”

Mummelthei says some farmers in eastern Iowa had a small window to plant in April. He wasn’t one of them. 

“If we are in the field by May 10 and get some good emergence weather, we’re going to be in fine shape,” said Mummelthei. 

It’s a forecast that’s going his way. A weekend full of wind and warm temperatures made a big difference. Mummelthei has planted 90 percent of his corn and half of his soybeans. 

Brian Pottebaum, a farmer from Readlyn, Ia, moved grain last week, but he didn’t plant it. 

“[The grain] is on a price contract [at the local elevator],” said Pottebaum. “If we can’t put corn in the ground, we might as well take it to town.”

He wasn’t the only one. Pottebaum says farmers are hauling grain to the local ethanol plant since they can’t be in the field. 

“Corn hit $3.50 around here,” said Pottebaum. “That was a big trigger point for us in his area that got a lot of guys excited.”

One week ago, he had 250 acres planted. He wasn’t worried about being behind at that time. 

“The last few years we’ve been kind of spoiled,” said Pottebaum. “We’re usually done by sometime this year. We’ve even had our beans in by now usually. Growing up, Grandpa used to never start planting until Mother’s Day. So, I guess we’re still ahead of schedule.” 

He made progress over the weekend, too. Pottebaum is almost done with planting for the year. He says farmers around him got a lot accomplished over the course of a couple days. 

A week’s time is making a big difference to planting progress in eastern Iowa as farmers use the windows they have on the road to a profitable 2017. 

Mummelthei says he has a straight 50-50 corn and soybean rotation, saying he did not switch due to price. Pottebaum is heavy corn. He feels it’s easier to raise corn and achieve a larger yield. His family also custom-feeds hogs.


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