USDA's first Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report for 2015 was released April 13. The weekly statewide survey didn't give an estimate of how much corn is in the ground; it's too early. But there are a few fields planted in the state, just not enough acres to show up in the first weekly USDA survey. Some farmers in southeast Iowa began planting corn Saturday, April 11. That's the first day allowable for crop insurance purposes this year. To be eligible for replant coverage, you can't plant corn in Iowa before April 11, 2015, according to rules set by USDA's Risk Management Agency.
The weekly crop report is based on survey data gathered by USDA's army of volunteer crop reporters who visit fields in their assigned area on Sunday each week. The information they gather is reported to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service and is analyzed and released by USDA every Monday afternoon from now through the end of harvest. "When the next weekly report is issued Monday, April 20, it will show how much corn is planted, as this 2015 crop season is getting started," says Greg Thessen, director of the USDA/NASS office in Des Moines.
Next USDA crop progress report will show some Iowa corn planted
The weekly report issued April 13 showed 2% of the U.S. corn crop had been planted already, slightly behind last year's 3% and the five-year average of 5%. Texas corn was 46% planted to lead all states, followed by North Carolina at 25% and Kansas at 14%.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented on April 13: "The weather has allowed farmers in Iowa to get some fieldwork done and if it stays warm and dry planters will be rolling across the state in the next few weeks. It is an exciting time on the farm as farmers are looking forward to the new growing season."
The complete weekly report for the week ending April 12 and issued April 13 is on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website IowaAgriculture.gov and on USDA's site nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Wet conditions continued to slow down fieldwork in Iowa during the week ending April 12, 2015, according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were 2.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Parts of Iowa experienced snow during the past week and cool soil temperatures remain a concern. After a slow start, farmers in northern Iowa continued to apply anhydrous, while applications in the southern two-thirds of the state were winding down.
Iowa has 75% adequate to surplus subsoil moisture reserve
Topsoil moisture levels rated 2% very short, 17% short, 76% adequate and 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2% very short, 20% short, 75% adequate and 3% surplus. North-central Iowa reported the highest soil moisture levels with topsoil and subsoil moisture levels rated 95% and 87% adequate to surplus, respectively.
One-quarter of the state's expected oat crop was planted during the week ending April 12, 2015. In Iowa, 42% of oats have been planted, five days ahead of last year, but slightly behind normal. And 4% of oats had already emerged as of April 12, which is five days ahead of last year, but six days behind the five-year average.
Pasture condition is rated 41% good to excellent. Pastures are greening up, but use by livestock has been limited due to slow growth. Livestock conditions are reported as mostly good with some reports of calving nearing completion.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending April 12, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Showers and thunderstorms were widespread across Iowa each day from Monday (April 6) through Thursday (April 9). Dry weather returned for Friday and Saturday. Finally, widespread showers and thunderstorms brought rain to much of the state late Sunday (April 12) into Monday (April 13) but fell too late to be included in this week's totals. Scattered reports of large hail were received across southeast Iowa on Tuesday night as well as across central and southwestern areas on Wednesday, April 8.
The most damaging severe weather occurred across eastern Iowa on Thursday with tornadoes confirmed in Clinton and northern Scott counties. Snow also accumulated from west-central to north-central Iowa Thursday afternoon with greatest amounts of 2 to 4 inches reported from parts of Crawford, Sac and Calhoun counties. However, all of the snow was melted by noon Friday.
Rainfall amounts and temperatures varied widely this past week
Rain totals varied widely each day with weekly totals varying from only 0.01 inches at Bettendorf to 4.45 inches at Lake Mills. The most widespread significant rainfall generally fell from west-central into north-central Iowa where 1- to 2-inch weekly totals were common. The statewide average precipitation was 0.88 inches while normal for the week is 0.74 inches.
Temperatures also varied widely with daytime highs only in the 40s over parts of northern Iowa from Tuesday through Friday while readings soared into the low 80s over potions of southeast Iowa on Thursday. There were scattered freezes on Monday (April 6) and Friday (April 10) mornings with a freeze over most of the northeast one-half of the state on Saturday (April 11) morning. Strong southerly winds rapidly pushed temperatures back above seasonal normals by Saturday afternoon and into Sunday.
Temperature extremes for the week varied from a low of 23 degrees at Belle Plaine on Saturday (April 11) morning to a Thursday (April 9) afternoon high of 81 degrees at Bloomfield and a Sunday (April 12) afternoon high of 80 degrees at Little Sioux. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.7 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth as of Sunday (April 12) were averaging in the low to mid-50s over most of Iowa.