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Wet Weather Delays Planting, Again

TIFFIN, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) -- The wet weather in the forecast is hitting farmers hard, by forcing them to push back the start of the planting season yet again.

While farmers may have welcomed the spring rains early in the season, enough is enough.

"It takes about two or three or four days to dry out, so by the time you're ready to get back in the field, another system moves in and you're kind of back to where you started," said farmer Steve Swenka.

Which means the planting of corn and soybeans will be delayed for at least another week, after lingering cold soil temperatures from the long winter pushed things back to begin with.

"I know a lot of guys are getting nervous, frustrated, they think it's too late. It seems like it's getting too late, but the reality is, it's not," Swenka said.
 
But the calendar will start to eat away at yields, Iowa State University field agronomist Virgil Schmitt said. Depending on where a farmer lives in the state, he or she could start losing .5 percent of yield every day.

If a farmer lives north of Highway 20, he or she will see 95 percent yield or better until May 2. Those are the farmers most under the gun, Schmitt said.

If a farmer lives between Highways 20 and 92, he or she will see 95 percent yield or better until May 18.

For farmers south of Highway 92, yields will start to drop off around May 13.

"I'm not (lying) awake at night worrying about it or anything like that, but on the other hand, as it gets later, there is more risk, and with more risk, there is more concern, yes," Schmitt said.

Still, if farmers can get in within the first two weeks of May, many stand a chance of getting 90 percent of their crops back.

"I think all the farmers are getting itchy and ready to go, so they'll appreciate a couple of weeks of good weather," Swenka said.

Even if farmers can start planting in the first week of June, they can still experience a bumper crop, Swenka said. Schmitt estimated that planting at that time would return about a 70 percent yield.
 
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