The rainy Spring and delays in getting into the fields have weighed heavily on area farmers. With June nearing an end and many acres still unplanted, farmers are searching for answers and options.
A meeting sponsored by Iowa State University Extention on Tuesday brought together nearly 50 area producers at the Palo Alto County Extension Office. The purpose of the gathering was to try and give producers some information to assist them in making some tough decisions in then next few days.
Paul Kassel, Extension Crop Specialist for Iowa State University opened the meeting noting there were many similarities in this Spring, when compared to 1947 and 1995, when wet Springs delayed planting.
CROP?PLANTING?QUESTIONS - A room full of area producers were on hand Tuesday afternoon to hear information about the delayed planting situation in the area and options available to producers. Iowa State University Extension Crop Specialist Paul Kassel was joined by Nicole Tifft of Farm Credit Services of American and Lisa Forberger, Palo Alto County Farm Services Agency County Director, in presenting information in the meeting at the Palo Alto County Extension Office in Emmetsburg. -- Dan Voigt photo
"Obviously, a big question many of you have is whether its too late to plant corn,"?Kassel said. "Our research from the ISU?Extension Research Farms at Sutherland, Kanawha and Nashua show that planting corn on June 26 instead of on May 26 would result in a yield decrease of 25 percent, or about 45 bushels to the acre."
Kassel noted that in such a scenario, research showed corn moisture content would increase by 15 percent at harvest time, increasing drying costs and that the risk of a killing frost before the establishment of the black layer in the corn was 100 percent.
As corn requires 2,500 growing degrees for full maturity, current reading show Emmetsburg has had 532 growing degree units between May 1 and June 16, 105 behind the average. Corn should be at the V6 stage in development at this time, on the average.
"We're behind schedule, but not as far as we thought,"?Kassel noted.
Kassel, an Ayrshire native, also noted that in corn crops, nitrogen loss has occurred due to rainfall, and suggested that any producer who is able should consider application of 30 to 40 pounds of additional nitrogen to their corn to aid its growth.
Shifting the discussion to soybeans, Kassel noted that soybeans planted after June 20, as opposed to May 15, could be expected to see a 25 percent yield decrease as well. While early frost concerns should be taken into account by producers, another major concern should be phtophthora, or damage due to excessive moisture.
"Herbicide issues are a concern if you prepared your ground for corn and are now planting soybeans,"?Kassel noted. "You have to look at the individual products and see,"
Nicole Tifft with Farm Credit Services of America discussed basic Federal Crop Insurance information and emphasized two very important dates.
"May 31 was the final plant date for Federal Crop and Jun3 15 is the final plant date for soybeans in Iowa,"?Tifft noted. "The Late Plant deadlines are June 25 for corn and July 10 for beans, or 25 days after the Final Plant dates."
According to Tifft, crops planted after the final plant day see a reduction of one percent per day in the insurance guarantee rate. But, that reduction is only for crop planted in the Late Plant period. For crops planted after the Late Plant period, there is a reduction to 60 percent of the original insurance guarantee.
"One important thing to remember in all of this is that your federal crop insurance coverage is based on your initial planting date,"?Tifft said.
"To replant, your coverage is based on the original planting date, and payment is based on $45 per acre for corn and $38 per acre for soybeans,"?Tifft noted.
The topic of prevented planting coverage was also discussed. Under Federal Crop Insurance, Tifft noted that coverage was based on the producers' intentions for the growing year.
"If you decide to file for prevent plant coverage, you must file your claim within 72 hours of the Late Plant Period date. And, your payment will be 60 percent of the original guarantee."
Acres being placed in Prevent Plant coverage should have some type of cover crop, but any cover crop may not be used until after November 1, according to Tifft.
"The Prevent Plant filing deadline is July 15," Tifft said. "A lot of the coverage on Prevent Plant is based on your past farm history. Don't worry about providing receipts for your inputs."
Lisa Forberger, Palo Alto County Farm Service Agency Director, noted that there was no cost-share money available for cover crop seeding, but cautioned producers that any acres they report for Federal Crop Insurance or Prevent Plant programs must match up with acres reported to FSA.
"We are here to help you," Forberger said. "But if you are going to file, don't wait until the last possible day."
To wrap up the program, Kassel was asked if there was any magic date to keep in mind. "In the agronomy world, my best guess would be beans planted after July 10 would only yield about eight or 10 bushels an acre - that's not really worth it."