Dry weather concerns farmersIowa waiting for substantial rain
DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Monday on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service.
The report is released weekly from April through October.
“The dry weather remains a concern as 65 percent of the topsoil and 59 percent of subsoil moisture is short or very short,” Northey said. “While the cool dry weather was ideal for the state fair, crops need additional precipitation and warm weather as development remains well behind the five-year average.”
The report summary follows:
Drier and cooler than average weather persisted across most of Iowa during the week ending Aug. 18, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Although varying amounts of moisture were received in central and western portions of the state, the lack of significant precipitation was a growing concern for Iowa farmers. Statewide, there was an average of 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Southwest Iowa received the most rainfall during the week, and had the least days suitable for fieldwork with 5.8.
A total of 35 percent of topsoil and 41 percent of subsoil was in the adequate and surplus moisture categories, both declining 6 percentage points from the prior week.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 25 percent very short, 40 percent short, 34 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 19 percent very short, 40 percent short, 40 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.
With nearly all the corn crop tasseled, 93 percent was silking, behind the five-year average of 99 percent. Sixty-two percent of the corn crop reached the milk stage, trailing the normal 87 percent. Twenty-four percent of the crop has reached the dough stage, well behind the normal 60 percent. Some of the very earliest planted corn crop has reached the dent stage. Corn condition declined slightly from the previous week and was rated at 5 percent very poor, 13 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 40 percent good and 8 percent excellent. With 95 percent of the soybean crop blooming, pods were being set on 71 percent of the soybean crop, well behind last year’s 94 percent and the normal 89 percent.
Soybean condition declined slightly from last week and was rated 5 percent very poor, 12 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 38 percent good and 9 percent excellent. Oat harvest was wrapping up across the state.
The third cutting of alfalfa has reached 36 percent compete, nine days behind the normal pace.
Both hay and pasture conditions continued to deteriorate, and the amount rated in the good and excellent categories fell 4 and 3 percentage points, respectively.
Hay condition was rated at 5 percent very poor, 13 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 40 percent good and 6 percent excellent.
Pasture condition rated 10 percent very poor, 22 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 25 percent good and 3 percent excellent.
Iowa waiting for substantial rain
By HARRY HILLAKER
State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Unseasonably cool weather prevailed for another week while most of the state is still waiting for a substantial rain.
Temperatures averaged below normal every day this past week, as they have for all but one day in the past four weeks. Temperatures approached normal on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12, with highs mostly in the 80s, but were well below normal from Aug. 13-15 when daytime highs were mostly in the 70s.
Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Aug. 11 afternoon highs of 88 degrees at Bloomfield, Centerville, Des Moines, Donnellson and Osceola, as well as at Red Oak on Aug. 12 to Aug. 14 morning lows of 42 degrees at Elkader and Belle Plaine.
Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.9 degrees below normal.
Thunderstorms brought very welcome rain to parts of north central and central Iowa the night of Aug. 11, with a maximum reported amount of 2.27 inches at Boone. Rain also was widespread across the southwest one-third of the state the night of Aug. 13, with Underwood in Pottawattamie County reporting the most with 3.85 inches. However, parts of the state, particularly the far southeast, received no rain for the week.
The statewide average precipitation was 0.44 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches. This was the sixth week of the past seven to bring less than normal rainfall.