Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey this week 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.
"The rains that much of the state saw this weekend were generally welcomed as it is still early. The northwest corner did miss much of the rain and remain in need of moisture. If it warms up and fields dry, farmers will be ready to start planting," Northey said. "It is great to see cover crops, which were planted on a record number of acres last fall, greening up again this spring."
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:
Above average temperatures in Iowa allowed over 20 percent of the State’s expected oat acreage to be planted during the week ending April 13, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Precipitation fell towards the end of the week as rain turned to snow overnight Sunday. Statewide there were 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fertilizer and anhydrous, tiling, terrace construction, and spring tillage.
Recent precipitation helped improve soil moisture levels. Topsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 25 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 17 percent very short, 38 percent short, 43 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.
Twenty-nine percent of oats have been planted, 10 percent ahead of last year but 22 percent behind average. The East Central and South Central districts have over 50 percent of their oat acreage planted. A few farmers reported oats starting to emerge. There were also scattered reports of corn being planted, mostly in southern Iowa.
Pasture condition rated 13 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 43 percent fair, 18 percent good and 0 percent excellent. Most pastures were still slow to emerge, but rains late in the week helped return some green to the area. Calving conditions were reported as good.
Iowa Preliminary Weather Summary
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Mostly dry weather with highly variable temperatures was the rule until Saturday evening when showers and thunderstorms moved into Iowa. Daytime high temperatures were mostly in the 60s on Sunday (6th) and Monday (7th). Highs on Tuesday (8th) were mostly in the 50s. A freeze occurred over most of northern and eastern Iowa on Wednesday (9th) with morning lows of 22 degrees reported at Grinnell, Atlantic and Stanley. Strong southerly winds brought a rapid warm up by Wednesday afternoon with highs in the mid 60s northeast to low 80s west with Sioux City reaching 83 degrees. Highs were in the 60s on Thursday (10th) and in the 70s on Friday (11th), but in between a freeze was reported over much of the northeast one-half of Iowa on Friday morning with Grinnell dipping to 24 degrees. Windy and warm weather prevailed Saturday (12th) with highs in the mid 60s northeast to mid 80s southwest. Harlan, Clarinda and Des Moines were the hot spots with 86 degree maximums on Saturday afternoon. A cold front slowly advanced across the state Saturday evening through Sunday bringing precipitation and much cooler weather to Iowa. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from three degrees above normal at the southeast corner of the state to nine degrees above normal over the far northwest. The statewide average temperature was 5.8 degrees above normal. Meanwhile, light rain was scattered over the northern two-thirds of Iowa on Sunday (6th) but with amounts mostly under one-tenth of an inch. Light rain also was scattered over much of the state on Monday (7th) but again only a few areas managed a little more than one-tenth of an inch of rain. Tuesday through Friday was dry. Showers and thunderstorms moved across the northern one-third of Iowa early Saturday morning while thunderstorms were widespread Saturday evening into Sunday morning. Weekly rain totals for the crop reporting week ending 7 a.m. Sunday varied from none across portions of far northwest and far southeast Iowa such as Le Mars, Holstein, Fairfield and Burlington to 2.44 inches at the Marshalltown Airport and 2.45 inches at Fayette. The statewide average precipitation was 0.44 inches while normal for the week is 0.76 inches. The Saturday evening storms brought reports of high winds and/or large hail from 32 counties. However, moderate to heavy rain fell across the southeast two-thirds of Iowa after 7 a.m. Sunday and will be included in next week’s report.