In Dodge and Washington counties, corn planting was off to a fast start during a stretch from April 10 to April 17. Many growers were able to get 10 to 70% of their corn planted, averaging close to 20-25%. Due to the windy conditions in this same time frame, spraying preplant/preemerge herbicides was limited. The area did not receive rainfall the first 17 days of the month. Some growers ceased planting ahead of the predicted rains the third week of April. Depth control was becoming poor due to insufficient down pressure on row units caused by the lack of rain and hard surface soil conditions. In between rains on April 24-25, some growers and service providers did get fieldwork done in drier areas including spraying and some planting.
However, rainfall totals during the period from April 18-30 ranged from 6 to 8 inches (Figure 3). The average April rainfall for the Fremont area is 2.8 inches. Total rainfall for April at Fremont was 6.57″, which is the 3rd wettest April on record since 1893. Wetter Aprils occurred in 1944 – 7.66″ and 1984 – 6.69″ (Source: High Plains Region Climate Center). Very little soybean planting progress has been made. However, good early alfalfa growth has occurred from warmer than normal conditions earlier this spring and recent rains. Lastly, corn planted the second week of April is close to emerging, however saturated soil conditions and ponding will likely negative impact final stands on poorly-drained soils (Figure 4 & 5). Growers should be evaluating the need to replant these portions of the field in the near future. Remember to keep up with the 2016 Dodge and Washington counties Crop Tour this growing season that starts on May 16, please check out the 2016 driving route and previous tour reports.