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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 18, 2017
AGRICULTURE

Much-needed moisture falls in areas of Iowa

Aug 29, 2017

DES MOINES — Iowa experienced below normal temperatures and received adequate rain throughout the western half of the state during the week that ended Sunday, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“Much of the state received some needed moisture last week that will hopefully help crops as they move toward maturity,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “We are starting to see some corn being chopped for silage, including areas that have been impacted by drought and farmers need additional forage for their livestock.”

The report is released 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.

According to the report summary, statewide there were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying, hauling grain, chopping corn, and harvest equipment preparation.

Topsoil moisture levels improved to 13 percent very short, 26 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in south central Iowa were reported at 85 percent short to very short. This is the first time in five weeks that topsoil moisture has been less than 90 percent short to very short in that district.

Subsoil moisture levels rated 18 percent very short, 31 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

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

Ninety-four percent of soybeans were setting pods, two days behind last year, but one day ahead of average. Six percent of soybeans started to turn color, three days behind average. Soybean condition improved slightly to 60 percent good to excellent. Similar pests and weeds as last year were reported for soybeans, with limited reports of disease pressure, such as sudden death syndrome or mold issues.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 82 percent complete, six days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average.

Pasture condition rated 17 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 22 percent good and 3 percent excellent.

Lack of water in ponds and creeks continues to be an issue in the southern district for cattle, with reports of cattlemen hauling water and using CRP acres for emergency haying and grazing.

 

Weather summary

It was an unseasonably cool and wet week across most of Iowa.

The reporting week began with temperatures slightly above normal on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21. However, below normal temperatures prevailed for the remainder of the week across most of the state.

Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 were the coolest days when afternoon highs were only in the 70s. Temperature extremes for the week ranged from an afternoon high Aug. 20 of 89 degrees at Boone to a morning low Aug. 23 of 44 degrees at Stanley in Buchanan County.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.6 degrees below normal.

Light rain was scattered across central and eastern Iowa the morning of Aug. 20. Rain fell statewide Aug. 21 interfering with viewing of the solar eclipse, but providing very welcome moisture in drought areas. Heaviest rains fell across the western one-third of Iowa where flash flooding occurred in some areas early Aug. 21. Aug. 22 and most of Aug. 23 were dry. Rain, mostly light, fell over parts of northwest and central Iowa the morning of Aug. 24. Rain fell across much of the northwestern two-thirds of Iowa the night of Aug. 24. Locally heavy rain fell over far northwestern Iowa the night of Aug. 25. Finally, light rain was scattered over the northeast one-third of the state Aug. 26 into the morning of Aug. 27.

Rain totals for the week varied from 0.05 inches at Guttenberg to 7.37 inches at Denison.

The statewide average rainfall amount was 1.78 inches or about double the weekly normal of 0.91 inches. This was the highest statewide average rain total in 12 weeks since mid-May. However, rain totals were below normal for the past week across most of northeast and east central Iowa. This portion of the state, which had been rather wet in the early and midsummer, has turned quite dry over the past month.

The Iowa Preliminary Weather Summary is by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship.

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