Planting season outlook

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“I expect it to be different from last spring that’s for sure.”

Mason City farmer Kevin Pope has high hopes that this year will be a little smoother than last.

“Everybody started the year off last year with a pretty big concern about drought after 2012 and when it started to rain it never quit and we went from one extreme to the other,” says Pope.

Dry soil may not be a concern this year but because of the extreme cold weather we had this winter; frost is.

“It’s going to take longer to get that frost out and get the ground dried out before we can do any field work so that’s the main concern right now. We need warm temperatures and warm rain to get that frost out,” he adds.

But experts say that frost will stick around a little longer than what farmers would like which will inevitably delay getting corn and beans into the ground.

“Snow cover and deep, deep frost, probably as deep of frost as we’ve seen. I think we’re maybe 4th or 5th all time record of low temps through the winter months and that’s just going to take that much longer to get that to go away,” says Dennis Johnson with the Worth County Extension.

During a normal spring, farmers would plant corn at the end of April and beans no later than the first couple weeks of May.

“That would be ideal, we sure didn’t experience that last year but we sure do hope that spring 2014 results in that and we’ve got plenty of time for all that to happen,” adds Johnson.

As far as when pope thinks he’ll get corn and beans in the ground…

“I have no idea. I wish it would show up here sooner rather than later but its mother nature, we just going to have to take what we get.”

While he’s waiting to get his planting underway, pope says he’s been busy in the shop getting his equipment ready.

He says he knows some farmers in Southwest Iowa who have already started some field work.

Also with spring upon us, farmers want to remind folks to keep an eye out for farm equipment that will start to show up on the roads and as always have patients.

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