From the Field Crop Report: April 18
NORTHEAST IOWA & SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA
It’s another crisp morning in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. Today’s forecast calls for another 4 to 8 inches of snow. It’s like living a scene from the movie, “Ground Hog” day. We keep waking up to April snow.
On a positive note, the snow is wet. Wet snow provides moisture, and subsoil moisture is needed by crops. While it’s trying our patience, we know that warmer days are ahead! In the meantime, our seed is safely in the shed.
NORTH CENTRAL IOWA & SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA
This photo was taken south of Garner, but it’s snowing again. It looks like 5 inches has already fallen. The flakes are getting heavier and bigger.
WEST NORTH CENTRAL IOWA
This picture was taken April 16, 2018, just 7 miles east of Humboldt where it snowed 10 inches last weekend. Instead of unloading hard boxes of corn for planting, many farmers in the area are moving snow. This weather is testing our patience, but we know spring will arrive soon.
Despite the weather, Latham® dealers are busy making deliveries and discussing what hybrids and varieties should be placed on what fields. Latham has outstanding product performance and takes pride in placing products on the right soils, fertility, and drainage to maximum profit per acre.
We’re all hooked up and ready to go in eastern Iowa! As you can see, our soil temperatures are not ready for #plant18. Soil temperatures here are 38 degrees at 2 inches of depth. It’s best for soil temperatures to reach 50 degrees before planting corn. Soil temperatures should consistently stay between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit before planting soybeans. Be patient as the forecast is for warmer temperatures next week!
Below are a few planter inspection tips while you wait:
- Check all mechanical drive components and look for any excessive wear. Check the bushings in all parallel arms. Inspect drive chains and cable drives as worn cable drives can slip and cause skips while planting
- Inspect all seed tubes for wear and tear. Sometimes the seed tube can wear at the bottom, causing it to crack. Any obstruction can cause ricochet and seed bounce in the seed tube causing erratic seed spacing.
- Check consistent disc opener depth on the planter. A good way to do this is to place 2X4 boards underneath each one of the gauge wheels and lower the planter onto the boards, preferably on concrete. Next, go through and check depth of disc openers. They are adjusted to the same notch on the back of the row unit, but you will be surprised with how far off they are from each other even though they are set the same.
WESTERN IOWA & EASTERN NEBRASKA
No planting will get underway here for a while as snow is covering most of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Fourteen inches of snow fell last weekend in Spencer, Neb., and Emerson, Neb, picked up eight inches of snow. Battle Creek, Iowa, got O.6 of an inch of rain followed by four inches of snow. Council Bluffs marked 0.8 inches of rain with just a dusting of snow. The good news is this snow won’t last long. We’re all ready for the planting season to begin!
The month of April feels more like January. The winter storm that hit most of the Midwest dropped anywhere from 3 inches in southern Wisconsin to 33 inches of snow northwest of Green Bay.
I didn’t think I would ever hear of a day when farmers would use airplanes to fly salt over the rooftops to help speed up the melting process and to prevent barn roofs from collapsing. This photo from Latham® Dealer Adam Faust of Chilton, Wisc., shows the 22 inches of snow that fell. Adam says he’s looking forward to a calm May with warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. If the long range forecast is accurate, it’s shocking to say that we might be in the fields before we were last year!
Even with the warm sunshine this week in Watertown, it will take awhile for the 9 inches of snow to dry out – and for soils to warm up – enough to plant our Latham Corn SuperStrip.
EASTERN NORTH DAKOTA
Luckily, here in North Dakota we didn’t see the big snowfall that blanketed the Upper Midwest last weekend. Farmers across the area are chomping at the bit to get seed in the ground. There is a lot of “yet to be determined” acres across the region. It does look like we will start receiving normal to near normal temperatures in the coming week. Latest data shows that this is the second coldest April on record with temperatures averaging 15.5 degrees below average.
Pictured is one of my northern ND dealers with bulk seed delivery in place ready for season to hit.
SOUTHEAST NORTH DAKOTA
While we are all waiting for spring and planting, there are other things we must give attention. Cold grain stored in bins starts sweating as outdoor temperatures rise. Monitor the situation closely as a bin full of grain can spoil in no time. If you do not haul the grain out of the bins before the busy season starts, at least core the bins. Pull a few loads out of the center and run fans to equalize temperatures to prevent spoilage.
NORTHEAST SOUTH DAKOTA
Mother Nature has not been cooperating with farmers this spring. There has been a snowstorm every week in Northeast South Dakota for the past month. Twenty-one inches of wet snow has fallen during the last two storms with more snow in the forecast for April 18. Frost is still present as air temperatures have been 30 degrees below normal. Fortunately, the date to switch to earlier maturities for our region is May 20. We still have plenty of time until we need to be worry about that! Warmer weather and planting are just around the corner.
SOUTHEAST SOUTH DAKOTA
The calendar says spring is here, but Mother Nature says, wait just a bit. As snow continues to fall in South Dakota everyone gets a few more days in the shop to get spring field equipment ready to roll.
This photo was taken April 17 near Freeport, Minn., where eight inches of snow fell over the weekend. While none of us want to see spring snow, at least it’s still early in the season. Keep calm. Each day brings us one day closer to “normal” spring temperatures!
Although we’ve had some fairly windy conditions with this snowfall, the good news is there should be adequate moisture once we can start rolling. This picture was taken south of Renville, Minn. Many dealers and farmers that I’ve been talking with are getting anxious, but I’m reminding them to make sure the ground is fit before they enter the fields.
Planting is one of the most important and direct influences that we have on yield. History has shown us that it’s best to avoiding planting when the soil is too wet or too cold. The effects of soil compaction become evident all season long, especially at harvest time. We’ll see the chilling effect when seeds imbibe cold water. When soil temperatures are less than 55° F for an extended period of time, the seedlings may “corkscrew” or not emerge when exposed to these coil soil temperatures.