Farmers Keeping a Close Eye on April Weather

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MAXWELL, Iowa -- No one will be keeping a closer eye on the forecast this week than Iowa farmers waiting to get seeds in the ground.

That's because for 6th generation farmers like Grant Kimberley, the rain that falls and how hot or cold the temperatures are in the spring can have a big impact on the crop that's harvested in the fall.

Come April, Kimberley says he can't wait to get the planter out of the barn and into his Maxwell fields.

"I love spring time. I love April and May. It's really my favorite time of the year,” said Kimberley.

Often times however, a smart farmer is a patient farmer.

Crop insurance deadlines allow Kimberley to begin planting on April 11th, but he doesn't anticipate getting in the fields until Mother Nature gives him the go ahead.

"Ideally you're looking at a good five days for this to be in good condition to want to plant,” Kimberley told Channel 13 News.

April showers have left his fields on the wet side.

It's a positive because the moisture can melt away any remaining frost in the ground. It's a negative because any more rain could lead to pooling which could delay his planting date.

"We really want drier conditions in the mid to late April time frame to make sure we can get our corn and soybeans planted timely,” said Kimberley.

Moisture isn't the only factor this time of year.

Kimberley, who also works as the director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association says for corn, soil temperatures need to be 50 degrees and rising and for soybeans, closer to 60 degrees.

Soil temperatures in his field are currently at 47 degrees.

"Sunny, warmer weather would allow us to get some work done,” said Kimberley.

While it’s easy for Kimberley to have his eyes on the prize, (high yields and hopefully high prices) his eyes will instead be on the forecast.

"I'd like to see 75 degrees and partly sunny with little wind.” Kimberley told Channel 13 News.

Another advantage of early spring rains is they can essentially be stored in case the summer months don't provide enough moisture.


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