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Friday, May 6, 2016

After a wet start, area farms see production above norm

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

After a very wet start to the farming season, followed by some hot and dry weather of late, most area farmers are optimistic that above-average corn and soybean yields may be on the horizon.

Crop expert Kris Kohl of Iowa State University's Buena Vista County office, said that fields are looking good locally.

High amounts of rain during April and May have filled the subsoil moisture profile.

"In April the normal amount is about four inches and we had seven, in May we we had almost nine inches, in June so far we've had only about two inches and the norm is about five inches, but the subsoil is still extremely moist at this stage. From here, we could use some timely showers as the season goes on."

After the storms in May, some farmers chose to replant areas that saw the most erosion. Only a very small percentage of crop potential was lost.

"We are currently better off than what we were this time last year," Kohl said.

Last year, concerns during a drought had many people worried about if there was going to be much of a crop from northwest Iowa.

"Right now we are above normal," Kohl said about the potential for crop yield. "But we still have a long way to go."

Farmer Paul Merten agrees that this year has so far generated optimism. "The end of the season seems so far away at the moment, but the fields will be taller than knee high by the Fourth (of July)," Merten said.

"There were a couple of worries after the rain that we had in May, it came at the worst time with everything all loose," Merten said. "Now we have to watch the heat and the wind. If you go out in the fields and see the leaves curling a little that is a sign of stress but there has been some fog out there in the mornings and the leaves have been able to get moisture."

Merten said he had some good rain the other week and hopes to see a few soft rains during or before the tasseling time.

"Right now I can't complain about the crops, they are doing well. The spots that were planted late are starting to catch up now, a little short but you can't notice from the road," Merten said. "It's good to drive down the road and see the green fields."

"It will be interesting to see how the markets are at the end of the season," Merten said. "For a couple of days the price of corn was about four dollars and then soon as rain was predicted it fell to the three dollar range. I think it will be in the three dollar range at the end of the year."

The whole state of Iowa did not see the same amount of rain as Northwest Iowa - some areas have been experiencing the same near-drought conditions as last year. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, a grower from Spirit Lake, expressed his concern after reading the Iowa Crops and Weather report by the USDA Nation Agricultural Statistical Service.

"The rains last week, while spotty, were welcomed by farmers and provided needed moisture as much of the state was quite dry," Northey said. "Now let's hope the spots that missed the showers last week receive some moisture soon."

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