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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2017
AGRICULUTRE

Northey: Rainfall too little, too late

Aug 22, 2017

DES MOINES — Much needed rain fell throughout Iowa during the week ending Sunday, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistical Service.

“Most of the state has seen some needed rain in the past week, but unfortunately it may be too little and too late for parts of south central and southeast Iowa that have already seen significant crop damage due to drought,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

The report is released weekly from April through October and 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.

The report summary states there were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Aug. 20. Activities for the week included haying and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels improved to 19 percent very short, 31 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa remained over 90 percent short to very short.

Subsoil moisture levels rated 22 percent very short, 34 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

Seventy-eight percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, one week behind last year. Twenty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, one week behind last year and five days behind the five-year average. Sixty-one percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Eighty-eight percent of soybeans were setting pods, four days behind last year, but equal to average. Soybean condition improved slightly to 58 percent good to excellent.

Almost all the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 73 percent complete, eight days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average.

Pasture condition improved to 19 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 23 percent good and 3 percent excellent.

Livestock conditions have been ideal with the cooler temperatures. However, available water supplies in ponds and creeks remains an issue for some producers and supplemental feeding has been required.

 

Weather summary

Seasonally mild temperatures prevailed through most of the week while rainfall was more widespread and frequent than in recent weeks.

Rain fell nearly statewide the night of Aug. 13 into the morning of Aug. 14 and also on Aug. 15 and 16. Aug. 17 was mostly dry. The evening and night of Aug. 18, a few isolated thunderstorms brought rain to small areas from northwest, through central and into southeast Iowa. A few storms were severe, including a tornado near Melvin in Osceola County. Aug. 19 was mostly dry while thunderstorms brought rain to about the southwest one-half of the state late night Aug. 19 into the morning of Aug. 20. The heaviest rains fell across far western and northwest Iowa the morning of Aug. 16.

Weekly rain totals were generally below normal across the east one-third of Iowa and above normal over much of the remainder of the state. Little Sioux reported the most rain during the week with 7.21 inches while Farmington picked up only 0.04 inches.

The statewide average rainfall was 1.35 inches while normal for the week is 0.97 inches.

The coolest weather in most areas came on Aug. 13 when highs were mostly in the 70s statewide. The remainder of the week was mostly cooler than normal over the north and slightly above normal over the far south. Temperature extremes ranged from afternoon highs of 92 degrees at Donnellson Aug. 15 and at Osceola Aug. 19 to a morning low of 49 degrees Aug. 19 at Cresco.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged two to three degrees below normal across northeast Iowa to about one degree above normal over the far south.

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

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