Excessive rains raise concerns on crop damage
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
“Unfortunately the torrential rains that have caused devastating flooding in eastern Iowa have also kept many farmers out of the fields due to muddy conditions. We need several days of dry weather to allow for statewide harvest to get underway,” Northey said.
The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
Although southeast Iowa had 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, statewide there were just 3.6 days suitable for the week ending September 25, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Above normal precipitation with localized heavy rains led to reports of fields with standing water. Activities for the week included chopping corn for silage, and some corn and soybean harvest. Excessive rains have raised concerns about crop damage and pasture condition in certain parts of the State.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 2 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 30 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 4 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus.
Seventy-two percent of the corn crop was mature or beyond, 3 days ahead of last year, and 2 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn harvest slowed due to wet conditions, but there were scattered reports of corn for grain being harvested. Corn condition rated 82 percent good to excellent. Ninety-three percent of soybeans were turning color or beyond, 3 days ahead of last year’s pace. Sixty-eight percent of soybeans were dropping leaves or beyond, 3 days ahead of average. Soybean harvest has begun where field conditions were dry enough. Soybean condition rated 81 percent good to excellent.
The third cutting of alfalfa hay advanced only one percentage point, to 96 percent, due to the week’s abundance of rain. Pasture condition rated 65 percent good to excellent. While above normal temperatures were beneficial for livestock conditions, grazing livestock had to move to higher ground as lowland pastures flooded in north central and northeastern Iowa. Outdoor feedlots also became muddy.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
It was yet another very wet week across much of Iowa. Scattered thunderstorms brought rain from south central to northeast Iowa on Monday (19th) and over the extreme northeast corner of the state on Wednesday (21st) morning. Rain was widespread over the northern one-half of Iowa from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday (22nd) morning with torrential downpours in north central into northeast Iowa with record flooding along the Shell Rock River. Thunderstorms were again widespread over the northern two-thirds of the state Thursday afternoon into Friday (23rd) morning with heaviest rains centered upon Buchanan and Delaware counties. Finally, another episode of widespread rain impacted the western two-thirds of Iowa from Saturday (24th) afternoon into Sunday (25th) morning with heaviest rains in southwestern portions of the state. Rain totals for the week were exceptionally variable with no rain falling over the southeast portion of Iowa at such locations as Albia, Ottumwa, Fairfield and Burlington while Nora Springs reported 11.07 inches and Nashua 9.76 inches in Floyd County. The statewide average precipitation was 1.95 inches while normal for the week is 0.77 inches. The statewide average rainfall thus far in September has averaged 6.29 inches, the highest September average since 1986. However, once again, the rain totals this month vary widely from only 0.90 inches at Fairfield to 17.25 inches at Nora Springs. A higher September precipitation total than seen in Nora Springs has occurred in Iowa in only 1926 and 1970. Meanwhile it was a very warm and humid week across the state. Temperatures averaged from nine degrees above normal across the northeast to as much as 14 degrees above normal in the south with a statewide average of 12.1 degrees above normal. Temperature extremes varied from a Tuesday (20th) morning low of 47 degrees at Cresco to Wednesday (21st) afternoon highs of 94 degrees at Atlantic, Algona, Clarion and Indianola.