Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has 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.

"Corn planting is just starting to get underway and will likely accelerate rapidly if temperatures continue to increase," Northey said. "Much of the state remains fairly dry and will need more moisture for the growing season."

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at or on USDA’s site at The report summary follows here:

Crop Report

Rain and cool temperatures early in the week ending April 20, 2014, continued to slow fieldwork according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average temperatures were below normal for the week, but at the end of the week temperatures started to rise. Statewide there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fertilizer, anhydrous and herbicides, seeding, and disking.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 22 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 16 percent very short, 39 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa was the driest with 18 percent of topsoil reported in very short condition.

Fifty-one percent of oats have been planted, 29 percentage points ahead of last year but 17 percentage points behind average. Seven percent of oats had emerged, ahead of last year’s 3 percent, but 17 percentage points behind the five-year average. A few farmers reported corn being planted.

Pasture condition rated 11 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 48 percent fair, 18 percent good and 0 percent excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as good, but most cattle have not yet been moved onto pastures.

Iowa Preliminary Weather Summary

By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

The past reporting week began with moderate to heavy rain over most of Iowa on Sunday (13th) with the rain mixing with or changing to snow over the northwest one-half of the state. A few local rain totals exceeded four inches from south central into east central Iowa while snow totals reached 3.6 inches at Remsen in Plymouth County. Light rain and/or snow fell across all but far western Iowa on Monday (14th). Dry weather prevailed for most of Iowa for the remainder of the reporting week. The exceptions were some light showers scattered across the northwest one-third on Wednesday and some isolated thunderstorms over west central and north central Iowa early Sunday (20th) morning. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.07 inches at Rock Rapids to 4.87 inches at Pella. The statewide average precipitation was 1.52 inches or nearly double the weekly normal of 0.85 inches. This was the wettest week in 42 weeks (late June 2013). Temperatures were below normal for most of the week. The coldest readings were on Monday (14th) and Tuesday (15th). High temperatures were mostly in the 30s on Monday while all of the state recorded a hard freeze on Tuesday morning. A slow warming trend began at mid week with daytime highs mostly in the 70s by Saturday (19th). Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Tuesday morning lows of 12 degrees at Sheldon and Sibley to a Saturday afternoon high of 82 degrees at Little Sioux. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 6.2 degrees below normal. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth warmed nicely thanks to much warmer weather over the weekend and were averaging in the 50s statewide by Easter Sunday afternoon.