DENISON — The rain the area received last week was important for the corn crop, said Mike Witt, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomist for Crawford, Carroll, Greene, Shelby, Audubon and Guthrie counties.
“There is very good subsurface moisture and the corn can get down and get to it, but that upper range was starting to get depleted,” Witt said.
Moisture for roots in the upper part of the soil has allowed significant corn growth in recent days, he said.
“You’ve probably seen that corn has been shooting up like mad,” he said.
The wet spring delayed corn planting, but everything did get planted in the local area.
“You might start seeing a tassel in the next 10 days on the earlier-planted corn,” Witt said.
The corn planted earliest is at about the V12 stage (corn with 12 leaves) and is moving right along, he said.
“Overall, I would say our corn looks very good,” Witt said. “It’s a really good, dark green.”
Some of the later-planted corn looks a little “iffy,” but that’s to be expected, considering how the year has gone, he said.
The corn is doing much better than the soybeans.
“Soybeans are kind of all over the board,” he said. “Soybeans look pretty rough right now, due to some of the late planting and the late spring.”
Soybeans are at about R1 stage.
“They are just starting to get their first flowers out there,” Witt said. “Even though the beans are small, they still have flowers. That makes a big difference on when you can spray.”
Soybeans are growing, but they will probably be of a shorter stature this year, he said.
Last week’s rain was good for the beans because the small plants have trouble reaching the subsurface moisture.
Crawford County crops are about average for the region at this point, Witt said.
“We didn’t get in as early as we wanted to. As far as others in the state, we are probably closer to being where we should be than other folks are,” he said. “We’re not perfect — we did get in behind – but better timing of planting was done in Crawford County than in a lot of counties around the area.”
Crawford, Carroll and Shelby counties and parts of Ida and Sac counties were lucky with the weather.
“They were able to get in fairly close to on time; still not when they wanted to, but closer than others,” Witt said.
The crop outlook for the rest of the growing season will depend on the weather.
Meteorologists are predicting lower-than-average rainfall for western Iowa for the rest of the year, Witt said.
Subsurface moisture is still at good levels, so he’s not ready to say the crops will have problems due to a lack of moisture.
His biggest concern at present remains the lateness of planting and the effect that will have on harvest.
“There is not much we can do about it,” he said. “Obviously our crops are late. With our crops being later, we’re going to have a need to make sure we have enough dryer capacity. We really want to make sure we’re ready to go with that because there will be a lot of wet grain coming out of the fields.”
Insects such as Japanese beetles are already starting to appear, he said.
Something else many people will have noticed is the swarms of painted lady butterflies that came from thistle caterpillars.
“I’m sure you got the front of your car all full of them in the country,” Witt said. “There were a large flush of them in the spring.”
Two generations of the caterpillars/butterflies appear in a year, so more will likely appear later in the summer, Witt said.
“We’re getting a lot of questions on those because they can cause damage to crops. Usually they don’t, but they did a little bit this year,” he said. “Everyone is talking about them because their windshields are full of them.”