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AGRIBUSINESS: Cold Putting Off Planting

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According to State Climatologist Harry Hillaker, moderate to heavy rains fell across the southeast two-thirds of the state this weekend, along with snow in some places, dashing producer hopes of fieldwork this week. In addition, soil temperatures around the state Monday plunged back below the 50-degree mark, with temperatures as low as 36 degrees in western Iowa.

Falling temperatures were more meaningful in the Plains states, where a freeze could mean winter wheat acres suffering frost damage may be replanted into soybeans. Hillaker says to a small degree, that's also true for some extreme southwestern parts of the state.

He says, "We're far enough north, the crop's not far enough this spring to hopefully cause any issues here. But further south Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, where they grow a lot of winter wheat and have a lot of drought concerns as well, the crop's not been in good shape anyway.”

Last year, farmers in Iowa harvested 21 thousand acres of winter wheat.

Hillaker says the cold temperatures are a continuation of this past winter's theme of persistent cold. But he wonders if the planting season this year will continue that trend.

He says, “This week looks to be cooler than usual, next week may be a little bit more seasonal temperature wise, maybe a little bit above normal for that last week of April so things are looking up.”