Market Matters Blog

2024 Planting Season Has Been Early for Many Midwest Farmers: Part 2

Mary Kennedy
By  Mary Kennedy , DTN Basis Analyst
Connect with Mary:
Planting corn in Marquette, Nebraska on April 25, trying to beat the incoming rains. (Photo by Cale Carlson)

I spoke to Midwest farmers during the week of April 22, asking them how things were going in their areas as far as planting or if some planting has been slowed or even stopped by rain. This is Part 2 of a two-story special package on the planting season. Today's story covers planting comments from the Midwest states of Nebraska, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa and Ohio.


"Today is Thursday, April 25. I finished planting all of my soybeans yesterday after starting April 12," said Cale Carlson, of Marquette, Nebraska. "Earliest I've ever started and the most I've ever gotten planted to this date. That being said, it is extremely dry here, which has allowed for all the fieldwork prep ahead of time to be accomplished. Most of our pre-spraying is applied and we are just waiting for a rain (hopefully tomorrow). Currently, corn soil conditions are dry and hard and I'm setting the seed depth deeper to try to get the moisture. If no rain by Saturday, I will be starting irrigation Sunday or Monday. Overall, I'm very excited to be putting in my 29th crop."

Carlson sent me an update Friday saying, "We got 3 inches of rain, glory hallelujah! I was able to get 1/4 of corn done before the rain, so I'm feeling very caught up on my planting pace."

"We got the corn planter rolling April 14 for the day to make sure all the kinks were worked out with it before colder temperatures and some much-needed moisture moved into the area," said Quentin Connealy, of Tekamah, Nebraska.

"We got the corn planter rolling good on April 20 and got about 45% of the corn planted before shutting down for our first major rain event in a long time that brought 1 to 2 inches of rain over the area," Connealy said. "Previously to mid-April, our moisture profile was very low, and we had drought-like conditions. These rains have loosened up the soil and provided good planting conditions the week of April 20. The conditions were good, not great as the previous fieldwork done played some factors into planting, but at least there's some moisture down there now, if you did any spring tillage. Planted into some good no-till conditions later in the week as the ground warmed up and seemed more suitable for baby corn seeds," said Connealy.

"Planting has progressed rapidly in south-central Nebraska," said Jay Reiners, of Juniata, Nebraska. "As I write this, it's raining, which has been a rarity the last couple of years. Everyone is welcoming this rain! We had some moisture over the winter, but we're nearly 25 inches below for the last couple of years. Planting conditions were some of the best in a long time. The only concern has been dryness and cold temps, but it's supposed to warm up dramatically next week. Combined with the rain, the corn and bean crop should get off to a great start. Now we just need to get commodity prices back up!"

Reiners checked in again on Friday morning to say his area got 2.7 to 5 inches of rain, so planting was on hold there.

Kenny Reinke, of Neligh, Nebraska, said on April 27, "In my area of northeast Nebraska, we are just getting started planting. It's been a yo-yo of overly warm periods with cooler wet days thrown in between. The first week of May is historically when everyone gets rolling hard.

"I'm actually starting on beans first for the second year in a row now. I only have one field in now as a cooler wet weekend rolled in. Received about 3 inches of rain from this system. I'm not concerned with planting delays until we get into mid to late May," Reinke noted.

"As far as wheat goes, I grow HRW," said Reinke. "It came out of winter dormancy looking the best it has in several years. The periods of heat also have it back to an average to a little bit ahead on growth rate. It's getting really close to joint stage. The rain has been a blessing, but it is starting to make late-fertilizer-application timing a challenge, due to soil conditions and application methods."

"The theme from my area of Polk County is the relentless drought that doesn't want to give up," said Dana Glatter, of Polk County, Nebraska. "Rain is forecasted, but we've been promised good rains for some time and only usually get 0.25 to 0.50 inches once every two weeks if that," said Glatter. "Some guys, including me, have been busy getting spring alfalfa drilled and waiting on corn planting this week to see what the weather does. Others, mostly larger producers, have been going hard on corn for the past five days. Corn in my area is probably 15% complete. The top 2 to 3 inches of soil is mostly dry fluff at the moment. Seeing some acres shift over to corn on corn, which is very common here. Just praying for some much-needed moisture to get the cool season grasses and other forages going!"

Glatter checked back in with me on Saturday and said, "We did get a nice rain finally. Three inches should hold us over for a little bit. It's going to delay planting for a while, but we desperately needed it."


Bodie Kitchel, of central Indiana, on April 23 said, "Today, ground conditions were in the best condition they have been in this spring. Very little crop in our area has been planted. We are supposed to have two good days of drying weather before four days of rain Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Equipment is bigger than in years past and we will get a window to get crop in. Just will depend on how far into May we go with the amount of rain we get in the next seven to 10 days. Early April we had 6 inches of rain in an eight-day period, but luckily we were dry before that and anything with tile was able to get on while other fields are still wetter."


"Corn and soybeans going in slowly here. Ground conditions are ideal on lighter sandy soils minus the temperature; 45-50 degrees today, but warmer temps in the forecast should help that," said Duane Smuts, of Charlotte, Michigan. "Heavy clay loam soil (soil mixture that contains more clay than other types of rock or minerals) is still too wet to get rolling on. The soft red winter (wheat) looks very good at this point. Hoping the frost the last two days has minimal effect, as we are early in the growth stages."

Matt Schwab, of northeastern Michigan, said midweek, "Here in northeast Michigan, we have had a cool and wet spring. As of April 23, most forage and alfalfa crops have seen an opportunity to get seeded. No corn or soybeans have been planted in my immediate area. South of me, 30-40 miles in the Saginaw Valley region, most sugar beets have been planted along with a sprinkling of corn and soybeans. Wet weather in the forecast may keep us out of the fields for another four to five days."


"Everyone around here has started or will be starting corn this week, weather tonight pending," said Quint Pottinger April 23 from New Haven, Kentucky. "We started planting corn today and a few of the bigger acre guys started when the weather went over 80 degrees last week. Everyone else wanted to wait until the cold rain last weekend moved through. I'd say guys in our area will be approaching 25-30% done with corn, with soybeans starting to go in later this week."


"We planted 83% of our corn this week; the only thing we're growing this year. Getting nice rain so far, not too much or too little!" said Dave Newby, of Bondurant, Iowa.


"Here are my planting conditions: nonexistent, wet and very wet," summarized Cody Etter of Cloverdale, Ohio. Pictures he sent of his flooded fields were proof of that.

Etter said that as of April 23, outside of a very small amount of spraying that has taken place, there hasn't been a single wheel turn in the entire area. "No fertilizer, no tillage, no planting. We have received between 8 inches to 9 inches of rain over the past month and are expecting more today. We've gotten close to fieldwork multiple times, but rain always arrives just beforehand. Morale remains high, but what once appeared to be an early spring (we were super dry prior to this) has turned into a waiting game."

I told him I was sorry to see and hear of his current predicament and he replied, "It happens! Nothing we haven't seen before. Last time I recall anything to this level would be 2019 and 2015. Fair amount of prevent plant both of those years. In 2019, no one turned a wheel until early June. We aren't there, yet."

Etter told me the main crops there are corn, soybeans, and wheat. "Outside of two big rains, the rains have just been consistent. I think there are definitely some fields of wheat that have suffered, but mainly small, low areas in the fields that are poorly drained. All things considered; I think most people would be pleased with how the wheat looks. However, due to the mild winter, weed pressure seems to be up across the board."


Editor's Note:

This is Part 2 of a two-story special package on the planting season.

To see Part 1, with comments covering the Upper Midwest states of North and South Dakota, and Minnesota, see:…

See DTN summary of the April 29 USDA NASS weekly Crop Progress report at…

Mary Kennedy can be reached at

Follow her on social platform X @MaryCKenn


To comment, please Log In or Join our Community .