Central Iowa Crops Face Variability Challenges

IOWA -- With only a few opportunities to plant this spring, farmers are dealing with different crop growth and many are still in the early stages of development.

ISU Extension Field Agronomist Meaghan Anderson says variability is the biggest challenge this year. "There is a lot of variability in planting date. There is a lot of variability in size of corn across fields as well as within fields," said Anderson.

Another challenge is weed management. "As a result of the late planting dates and trying to get everything all done at once in a really short time crunch, time frame, we ended up maybe skipping our pre-emergence herbicide applications and that kind of came back to bite some people when it came to their post-applications," Anderson said.

There was also an inundation of insects this spring. Normally that isn't a problem because plants are big and resilient enough to handle the pests. But because of late planting dates, soybeans in particular are seeing some damage.

But there is a positive side. This year there seems to be an absence of disease pressure. "We had a long period of cold, wet soils. We had slow growth, which typically is prime condition for disease pathogens to be an issue in both corn and soybeans. And we really didn't see as much of it as I would have expected given the conditions that we had," Anderson said.

Anderson adds that there is still disease out there, but it's at fairly low levels for this time of the year.

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