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Iowa crop and weather report

A Mason City farm
A Mason City farm
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 wet conditions last week kept many farmers out of the field and with more significant rainfall forecast it will take several days with warm dry weather before fields are fit and farmers are able to start planting again,” Northey said. “Of the expected corn acres 15 percent have been planted, which is around 2 million acres, and shows again that farmers can make a lot of progress in a short period when conditions allow.”

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:

Wet conditions continued to slow down fieldwork in Iowa during the week ending April 27, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average temperatures were above normal for the week except in north central and northeast Iowa. Cool soil temps remain a concern for farmers planting in the northern part of the State. Statewide there were 3.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Other activities for the week included applying fertilizers and herbicides.

Recent precipitation improved soil moisture levels. Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 14 percent very short, 36 percent short, 46 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa remained the driest with 17 percent of topsoil reported in very short condition.

Planting progress was ahead of the previous year’s progress, but still trailed behind the five year average. Planting for oats was at 68 percent complete, 26 percentage points ahead of last year but 13 percentage points behind average. Twenty-four percent of oats had emerged, ahead of last year’s 10 percent, but 18 percentage points behind the five-year average. Fifteen percent of the expected corn acreage was planted, 13 percentage points ahead of last year but 18 percentage points behind average. Corn had started to emerge. There were scattered reports of soybeans being planted.

Pasture condition rated 10 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 44 percent fair, 24 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Calving conditions were reported as poor with the wet conditions and cooler temperatures in some areas of the State.

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

The past reporting week brought fairly typical late April weather to Iowa. The warmest days came at the beginning and ending of the period. High temperatures on Easter Sunday (20th) varied from the low 60’s northeast to mid 80’s west and on Saturday (26th) varied from the low 60’s northeast to near 80 across southern Iowa. Below normal temperatures prevailed at mid-week with a freeze recorded over much of the northwest one-third of Iowa on Tuesday (22nd) while daytime highs were only in the upper 40’s over parts of northeast Iowa on Wednesday (23rd) and Thursday (24th). Temperature extremes varied from Sunday (20th) afternoon highs of 85 degrees at Jefferson, Little Sioux, Logan, Rockwell City and Sioux City to a low of 26 degrees at Sheldon on Tuesday morning . Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.0 degrees above normal, varying from about a degree above normal over the northeast to six degrees above normal over the northwest. Thunderstorms were scattered over most of the state on Easter Sunday into Monday (21st) afternoon with locally heavy rain over parts of north central Iowa. Showers and thunderstorms were also widespread from Wednesday (23rd) morning into Thursday (24th) evening with greatest amounts to around one and one-half inches in north central and south central Iowa. Finally, another period of showers and thunderstorms began Saturday (26th) night and continued beyond the Sunday morning cut-off of this report. Greatest rain totals for the week were across north central Iowa where Rowan recorded 4.02 inches and Mason City 3.77 inches. Only light rain fell across far northwest Iowa, along the Highway 30 corridor from Ames to Denison and in the Burlington area. Sheldon and Sibley reported the least rain with 0.16 inches for the week. The statewide average precipitation was 1.09 inches or slightly more than the weekly normal of 0.93 inches.

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