The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 2, 2014

Weather affecting planting season

CLINTON — It’s the heart of planting season for area farmers but thanks to Mother Nature, the already specific timeline is slowly narrowing with the start of May.

In an average year, with ideal weather conditions, planting season typically begins about April 20. By May 15, most farmers hope to have their corn and soybean seedlings planted to ensure they get the most yield from that season’s crop.

As of Thursday, though, about five percent of Clinton County’s farmland had been planted.

“We haven’t had a really good opportunity to plant yet,” Iowa State University Extension Office crop specialist Virgil Schmitt said. “In a normal year we’d be about a third of the way done by now. So, basically as of now we’ve got to wait it out.”

Because of below average temperatures and heavy rainfalls throughout the latter half of April, those planting opportunities have been scarce. Although the weather outlook for the beginning of May doesn’t look any more promising, area farmers are still feeling confident they will have time to get their crops in the ground early enough.

Some farmers even got a jump start on the planting season despite the problematic weather so they could avoid running into issues of a late start.

Clinton County Farm Bureau president and local farmer Joe Dierickx joined a small percentage of farmers who’ve already begun that process. Although none of his seedlings have begun sprouting, he is still confident they will produce when the weather picks up. He added that his long-time farming experience aids in that confidence of planting early, when other farmers may be reluctant.

“Personally my brother and I are probably a little further along than most because we’ve been farming for 30 to 35 years and we’ve seen when the dirt is fit to pull,” Dierickx said. “We’ll know in probably three weeks whether that was the right time or not.”

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