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Northey: Precipitation delaying spring field work by farmers

Apr 18, 2013

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.

“Most of the state received needed precipitation last week that will provide needed moisture for the growing season, unfortunately some was in the form of damaging ice in northwest Iowa,” Northey said. “Little field work was able to be completed, but we are still early enough in the season where farmers will be able to catch up if we receive some warm dry weather.”

A summary of the report follows:

Precipitation was received across Iowa during the week ending April 14 ranging from rain in southern Iowa to rain, snow and ice in northern Iowa.

The much needed precipitation helped replenish top soil moisture. The wet conditions limited fieldwork across the state. Statewide there was an average of 0.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 19 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels rated 27 percent very short, 42 percent short and 29 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Oat planting was 20 percent complete, far behind last year’s 84 percent and the five-year average of 51 percent.

Pasture and range condition rated 24 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 35 percent fair and 11 percent good and 1 percent excellent.

The wet and cool weather has made calving more difficult.





State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship


Iowa experienced its wettest week since July 2010 during the week ending April 14, with a statewide average of 2.90 inches of rain compared to a weekly normal of 0.78 inches.

The heaviest rains fell from the evening of April 8 through the morning of April 11 when 2- to 3-inch rains were widespread over northern Iowa. Significant rain also fell the nights of April 7 and April 13 into April 14. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.80 inches at Glenwood to 5.31 inches near Badger in Webster County.

Besides the rain there was a variety of weather during the week. Thunderstorms brought scattered reports of large hail over the southeast half of the state the night of April 8. Another round of storms brought large hail and high winds to parts of the northwest one-third of Iowa the afternoon and evening of April 9. April 10 brought a damaging ice storm to far northwestern Iowa. Colder air turned rain to snow over about the northwest one-third of the state April 10-11, with 6 inches in Lyon and Osceola counties.

The reporting week began with mild weather on April 8 with daytime highs from the mid 50s northeast to mid 70s southeast. Sharply colder air moved into the state April 9, but not before temperatures reached as high as the upper 70s in the southeast. Otherwise daytime highs were only in the mid 30s northwest to the 40s over the south through April 12. Warmer weather returned for the weekend with highs reaching into the mid 50s southwest April 13 to the upper 70s southeast April 14.

Temperatures as a whole averaged from near normal over the extreme southeast to 12 degrees below normal over the far northwest. The statewide average temperature was 3.9 degrees below normal for the week. Extremes varied from a low of 17 degrees at Sibley the morning of April 13 to highs of 79 degrees at Keosauqua, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa April 9.

Soil temperatures as of April 14 varied from the low 40s north to upper 40s south.

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