Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Harvest just weeks away

The summer rainfall at Fairfield was only 3.51 inches – its lowest summer rain total in 137 years of records
Sep 06, 2017

DES MOINES – It was a cool dry week in Iowa during the week ending Sept. 3, 2017, according to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“As we enter September, crops continue to move toward maturity with harvest now just a few weeks away,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “It is great to see some farmers aerially seeding cover crops. Seed corn harvest is also getting underway.”

The USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service releases the report weekly from April through October. It is 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.


Report summary

During the week ending Sunday, statewide there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying, hauling grain, chopping corn silage, seeding cover crops, and harvesting seed corn.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 13 percent very short, 27 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

According to the Aug. 29 U.S. Drought Monitor, areas of south central and southeast Iowa have been in a severe drought for five consecutive weeks.

Subsoil moisture levels rated 17 percent very short, 31 percent short, 52 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Ninety-four percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, five days behind last year, but three days ahead of the five-year average. Sixty percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, eight days behind last year and three days behind average. Corn condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Eighteen percent of soybeans have started to turn color, five days behind last year and three days behind average. Soybean condition improved to 61 percent good to excellent. There were scattered reports of disease issues in soybeans such as sudden death syndrome.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 91 percent complete, eight days ahead of last year and over two weeks ahead of average.

Pasture condition rated 16 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 24 percent good and 2 percent excellent.

Cooler temperatures have been ideal for livestock; however, there were still reports of producers in south central and southeast Iowa feeding hay to cattle due to poor pasture conditions.


Weather summary

It was a dry and unseasonably cool week across Iowa.

Temperatures were below normal throughout the week except at a few western Iowa locations.

Aug. 28 and Sept. 1 were the coolest days in most areas with daytime highs in the 70s.

Temperature extremes for the week ranged from morning lows on Sept. 1 of 41 degrees at Cresco and Elkader to an afternoon high Sept. 2 at Albia.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from four to seven degrees below normal over the east to slightly above normal in the far northwest with a statewide average of 3.0 degrees subnormal.

Most of the week’s rain came on Sept. 27 when rain was scattered nearly statewide with some very small areas of heavy rain in the Dubuque and Burlington areas.

There were some thunderstorms on Aug. 28 over extreme eastern Iowa, with some localized heavy rains around Burlington. There were some isolated showers on Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, but with rain totals mostly under one-tenth of an inch.

Asbury in Dubuque County reported the most rain for the week with 3.31 inches while Burlington saw 2.72 inches.

Much of central and south central Iowa saw little, if any rain.

The statewide average rainfall amount was 0.11 inches while normal for the week is 0.88 inches. This was the state’s driest week in 12 weeks since mid-June.

At Fairfield, the summer rainfall total for June, July and August was only 3.51 inches. This was its lowest summer rain total among 137 years of records at that location. The old record was 3.77 inches in 1911.

The Ottumwa airport recorded even less rain for the summer with 3.38 inches, but this amount ranked a distant second behind 1911’s 1.80 inch total at that location.


Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, provides the weather summary.


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