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Iowa Secretary of Agriculture says Iowa crops “starting to need some rain”

A corn field in Mason City, Iowa.
A corn field in Mason City, Iowa.
DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today 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 warm dry weather has allowed crops to continue to develop, but many areas of the state are now starting to need some rain,” Northey said. “Some areas of the state did receive some precipitation yesterday and there are additional chances later this week. Hopefully crops will continue to receive timely rains throughout the growing season.”

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:

CROP REPORT
Crops were beginning to need rain as dry weather continued the week ending July 21, 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. It was the third week in a row with below average precipitation, which has caused soil moisture conditions to decline, and has led to crops needing additional moisture. Statewide there was an average of 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork.

Statewide, 43 percent of topsoil was in the adequate and surplus categories, a decline of 22 percentage points from the previous week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 14 percent very short, 43 percent short, 42 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. A total of 66 percent of subsoil was in the adequate and surplus categories, down 18 percentage points from last week. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 30 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Thirty-five percent of the corn crop has tasseled, well behind last year’s 95 percent and the five-year average of 70 percent. Eighteen percent of the corn crop was silking, lagging behind last year’s 87 percent and the normal 54 percent. Overall, the corn development was about 10 days behind normal. Corn condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 43 percent good and 12 percent excellent. Thirty-six percent of the soybean crop was blooming, behind last year’s 83 percent and the five-year average of 70 percent. Scattered reports of soybeans setting pods were received. Soybeans condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 43 percent good and 13 percent excellent. Seventy-six percent of the oat crop has turned color, trailing the five-year average of 90 percent. Twenty-one percent of the oat crop has been harvested, behind both last year’s 88 percent and the normal 39 percent. Oat condition was rated 0 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 54 percent good and 10 percent excellent.

The 2nd cutting of alfalfa was 52 percent complete, behind the five-year average of 66 percent. Hay condition was rated at 1 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 50 percent good and 12 percent excellent. Pasture condition continued to deteriorate and was rated 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 41 percent good and 10 percent excellent.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

It was a very warm and dry week across Iowa. The hottest weather was from Tuesday (16th) through Friday (19th) with temperatures dropping to near normal over the weekend (20th-21st). Daytime highs were in the 80’s on Sunday (14th), near 90 on Monday (15th) and in the low to mid 90’s in most areas from Tuesday (16th) through Thursday (18th). A cool front kept highs in the mid 80’s over the northwest on Friday but the south and east warmed into the mid to upper 90’s. Highs over the weekend were back in the 80’s. Temperature extremes for the week ranged from a Friday afternoon high of 98 degrees at Keokuk to Saturday morning lows of 53 degrees at Battle Creek and Sheldon. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 4.8 degrees above normal as Iowa experienced its hottest week since late July 2012. There were a few isolated showers over far northwest Iowa on Sunday (14th) morning and over the southeast on Monday (15th) morning. A few isolated showers also popped up over north central and south central areas on Wednesday (17th) while Tuesday and Thursday were dry statewide. Friday (18th) brought some morning showers over the northern one-third of the state while there were a few isolated thunderstorms over the south one-half Friday afternoon. Light rain fell over far northwest Iowa on Saturday (20th) morning with some isolated thunderstorms over the far northeast on Saturday afternoon. Some locally heavy rain fell over south central Iowa on Sunday (21st) but will be included in next week’s report. Weekly rain totals varied from none over much of the state to a maximum reported total of 0.86 inches south of Elkader. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.06 inches while normal for the week is 1.01 inches.

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