Agronomy Blog

Eastern Iowa Crop Progress

by Ryan Dunsbergen | Apr 24, 2017

The majority of the alfalfa fields in Eastern Iowa recovered nicely from the winter.  Based on the winter we had, I was curious to see how well they would break dormancy this spring.  On the one hand, we had a rather mild winter.  However, with the inconsistent snow cover and several days of temperatures bumping above freezing, I was concerned some root crowns may have been damaged.  Some older alfalfa fields seeded 4-5 years ago are getting taken out and going to row crop for a year.  But even the majority of those fields will be getting the first cutting taken off and then get planted to soybeans.  The warmer than normal temperatures in February and March caused alfalfa fields to break dormancy about two weeks early and they look great.

Right now is an important time to be scouting alfalfa fields for pests.  The main pest concern now is the Alfalfa Weevil.  The larvae are yellowish-green with a white stripe down the middle of the back and a shiny black head.  The larvae are chewing insects and will skeletonize the leaves, which will dry out quickly.  Heavy feeding from these pests will give the field a grayish/whitish cast.  These larvae should not be confused with Clover Leaf Weevil larvae.  The Clover Leaf Weevil larvae are light green with a narrow white stripe down the back that is edged with reddish-pink spots.  They have light brown heads that clearly distinguish themselves from the shiny black heads of the Alfalfa Weevil.  For more in-depth information about life cycle, feeding habits and management decisions, please see this newsletter from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The above temperatures in February and March also brought a lot of excitement for spring.  Farmers were able to get some field work accomplished and get their spring fertilizer applied.  I talked to several producers in late March who said they were looking at the Monday after Easter to really get things going.  April weather has changed that.  Corn planting in Eastern Iowa has been hit or miss with very little consistency.  We had a large storm front go through on Easter weekend and some places picked up 4+ inches of rain.  While the four inch soil temperatures look to be in the mid 50’s, there has been quite a bit of hesitancy based on ground conditions and the weather forecast.  However, there have also been some larger farmers pushing hard to get their corn planted and have nearly 50% of their corn acres in the ground.  Overall, we are no more than 10% planted on corn acres in Eastern Iowa. 

This past weekend we saw field work and planting really break loose in most of Eastern Iowa.  Unfortunately, it will not last long.  The weather forecast is unfavorable for corn planting.  We are expected to see a 15-20 degree drop in temperatures with a significant amount of rain.  This cold front is expected to stick around for 10 days.  Eventually we will dry up and warm up and get this crop in the ground. 

Thank you for choosing LG Seeds for your planting needs.  Have a safe #plant17!   

Note: The information in this issue is based upon field observations and third party information. Since variations in local conditions may affect the information and suggestions contained in this issue, LG Seeds disclaims legal responsibility therefore. Always read and follow label instructions.
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