The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

June 6, 2013

More decisions for farmers to face

By Mary Lou Hinrichsen Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — DEWITT — With still a few fields of corn to plant, farmers should check with their insurance provider before deciding what to do, says field agronomist Virgil Schmitt,

“May 31 was the final planting date from a crop insurance standpoint,” he said. “Corn can still be planted, but the crop insurance guarantee will drop 1 percent per day and the yield achieved will be used as part of the yield calculation by the insurance company when determining insurable yields in the next few years.

“The alternative is to utilize the prevented planting provision, which will not count against insurable yield for future years. So people with corn yet to plant should talk to their crop insurance agent before making a final decision to plant or take the prevented planning provision.”

Schmitt said that, on average, corn planted between May 25 and June 5 can be expected to yield about 70 percent of a normal yield. If planted between June 5 and June 15, a yield of 54 percent of normal can be expected.

“The yields of the late plantings are also extremely variable,” he said, “with some being exceptionally good and others being exceptionally bad.”

He said in this area nearly half of the soybean crop was still to be planted. On average, early June planting provides 93 percent of a normal yield, while a mid-June planting provides 59 percent.

“So we desperately need a few good field work days soon to get the soybeans planted.”

Nitrogen may be lacking

“With the heavy rains in some areas, we have likely lost some nitrogen this year,” Schmitt said. He urged farmers to take soil samples and send them to a lab to be tested.

DeWitt area farmer Joe Dierickx said his planting is being wrapped up, but his side-dressing of nitrogen is starting. He’s also spraying his cornfields for weeds, which will be going on for a couple of weeks. His fields are damp but firm, he said.

“It looks like some of the corn didn’t like the wet soil, but most of the corn looks good — just a little small,” he said. “Soybeans are emerging and that looks OK so far.”

Up in the northeast corner of the county, Dustin Johnson said he ran tissue samples and is doing some side dressing of nitrogen.

“The recent break in the weather allowed us to finish up some spraying of weeds and the early corn is looking good. We are hopeful to get some hay made this week.”

According to Schmitt, this area seems to be missing the movement of stalk borers which has started in corn fields south of Highway 34.

“They are in the grassy areas and starting to move into nearby cornfields,” he said.