Large bouts of rainfall over the last few weeks flooded area fields, delaying crop planting for many Dallas County farmers by two to three weeks.
Rod Collins, who grows corn, soybeans and alfalfa in Adel, Dallas Center and Linden, said he has already felt the effects.
“It depends on the weather conditions, but I try to start planting around mid-April and then finish around the 15-20th of May,” he said. “Harvest will be two to three weeks behind schedule now.”
According to the Iowa Soybean Association, only 40 percent of the state’s soybean crop had been planted by May 28. This time last year farmers had planted 95 percent of their soybean acres.
Collins began to farm full-time after he graduated college in 1991 and has experienced the floods of ’93 and ’08 as well as last year’s drought, but said he has never planted this late in the year.
“This is the longest I’ve gone without planting in all my time farming,” he said. “In 1993, we had planted everything but the beans before the floods hit. And last year during the drought, I was able to get all of my planting done. “It really makes it difficult when the weather doesn’t cooperate, but we really can’t do anything about it.”
The weather has also affected Collins’ alfalfa plant, which hasn’t grown quickly due to the cooler temperatures.
“Since the temperature has been so cool, it’s delaying growth for the alfalfa,” he said. “It usually grows faster at temperatures around 75-80 degrees.”
Randy Riley, who farms west of Perry, also has had issues finishing planting his soybeans due to the wet weather.
“I’m halfway done with beans and can’t get back in,” he said. “We’ve tried and tried to get back in and can’t.”
Riley has been a farmer for 41 years and has never had to plant his soybean crop in June unless it was a re-plant.
Although many of the fields have soaked up much of the rainwater, both farmers are looking toward a dry forecast.
“If we can get them in by the 15th or 20th (then) we still have a good chance at getting half a crop,” Riley said. “If not, it’s going to affect us (financially).”
Soybean yields, on average, decline by .25 to .9 bushels per day for seed that isn’t in the ground after May 15, according to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach research.