Iowa's 2015 corn and soybean crops have reached mid-June in good shape, although some areas of the state have received more than enough rain. Storms that rolled across the state last week limited the ability of farmers to get in fields to finish planting soybeans, spray weeds or make hay. Standing water has created some drowned-out spots that will need to be replanted if they dry out soon.
Overall, Iowa's corn crop is rated as 84% good to excellent, according to USDA's weekly crop conditions survey for the week ending June 14. Soybean planting advanced to 87% complete in Iowa, compared with 91% a year ago and a 90% average for the past five years. The survey shows 75% of the state's 2015 soybean crop has now emerged and it is rated 67% in good to excellent condition. However, that soybean emergence rating is behind last year's 81% and the five-year average of 77%.
This past week's wet conditions halted fieldwork late in the week. Heaviest amounts of rain ranged from 4.75 to 6 inches in parts of southwest and east-central Iowa last week. Some other Iowa locations also had heavy rains.
Rain gauge at Ankeny measured 7.9 inches in recent days
In his rain gauge at Ankeny in central Iowa, Mark Johnson collected 7.9 inches of rain from Thursday June 11 through about 7.30 a.m. on June 15. He is the Iowa State University Extension field agronomist for central Iowa.
His nine-county area continues to be split between western locations being too wet and eastern areas in pretty good shape. "In fact, the stretch along Hwy. 163 looks fantastic, with nice tall dark-green corn all along the Jasper County route," says Johnson. "Warren County continues to struggle to get the last of their soybean fields planted, as do small areas of Boone, Greene, Dallas and Carroll counties. Those same four counties have ponds in many fields and about the time the water goes down, it rains some more. Story, Polk and Marshall counties are somewhere in between."
What happens when corn and beans sit in saturated soil?
There are good references on the Internet explaining what happens with corn and soybeans in saturated soils, says Johnson. As soil dries, a crust may form and cause emergence problems for replanted crops. To assess replant options based on surviving stands and the current date, he suggests you read pages 11 and 12 in agronext.iastate.edu/corn/docs/corn-field-guide.pdf.
The weekly USDA Iowa Crop Progress & Weather Report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
Fieldwork slowed due to heavy rains later in the week
CROP REPORT: Sunny and warm temperatures early in the week spurred growth and fieldwork progress in Iowa. However, fieldwork slowed due to wet conditions during the latter part of the week ending June 14, 2015, according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included planting, cutting and baling hay, and spraying. Although some spraying was done early in the week, weeds remain a concern throughout the state as crop emergence continues and farmers are unable to get into their fields to spray.
Topsoil moisture rated 0% very short, 2% short, 71% adequate and 27% surplus. Subsoil moisture is rated 0% very short, 4% short, 75% adequate and 21% surplus. South-central Iowa is the only area of the state reporting no topsoil rated very short or short on moisture.
Iowa soybean planting is 93% complete, equal to 5-year average
As of June 14, the weekly survey shows 98% of Iowa's corn crop has emerged, six days behind last year, but four days ahead of the five-year average. Iowa's corn crop is rated 84% good to excellent. Soybean planting reached 93% complete, two weeks behind 2014 but equal to the average.
Saturated soil conditions in southwest and south-central Iowa continued to delay planting, with only 72% and 75% of their soybean crop in the ground, respectively. Soybean emergence reached 83%, two days behind normal. Bean condition is rated 80% good-to-excellent statewide. Oats reached 49% as of June 14, slightly ahead of last year, but one day behind average. Oat condition remains 81% good to excellent.
The first cutting of alfalfa hay is 66% complete as of June 14 in Iowa. Hay condition is 78% good to excellent. Pasture condition is 82% good to excellent. Livestock conditions are described as good, due to mild temperatures, but reports from western Iowa indicate insect stress on cattle is increasing. Cattle lots remain muddy throughout Iowa. This past week, the heaviest amounts of rain ranged from 4.75 to 6 inches in parts of southwest and east-central Iowa.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—For week ending June 14, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past reporting week began with a few scattered showers and thunderstorms late Sunday (June 7) over parts of far southern and eastern Iowa. Dry weather prevailed over most of the state on Monday (June 8) and Tuesday (June 9) while thunderstorms brought locally heavy rain to the southern one-third of Iowa on Wednesday (June 10) afternoon and evening with light-to-moderate rain falling over the northwest one-quarter of the state. Showers and thunderstorms brought rain to all of Iowa on Thursday (June 11) with locally heavy rain over parts of southwest and east-central Iowa. Friday (June 12) and Saturday (June 13) brought more rain to east-central and southeast Iowa.
Weekly rainfall was heavy in areas, as much as 5 to 6 inches
Additional rain fell on Sunday (June 14) and Sunday night over the southern two-thirds of the state with some locally heavy rains over portions of southwest and central Iowa.
Some of the Sunday rainfall would have fallen too late to be reflected fully in the crop condition reports. Weekly rain totals were generally lowest across northwestern Iowa with a report just south of Lake Park in Dickinson County of 0.43 inches.
However, very heavy rain fell in other areas, particularly in southwest and east-central sections. The largest reported total came from north of New Market in Taylor County of 6.07 inches. Other hefty totals included 5.98 inches in Davenport, 5.37 inches near Amana and 4.76 inches at Sidney.
This was highest weekly average rainfall in 39 weeks for Iowa
The statewide average precipitation total was 1.91 inches while normal for the week is 1.19 inches. This was the highest weekly average in 39 weeks (second week of September 2014). A few of the thunderstorms over the southern one-third of Iowa were accompanied by large hail and/or high winds on Sunday (June 7), Wednesday (June 10) and Thursday (June 11).
Temperatures were well above normal for most of the week with daytime highs in the 90s nearly everywhere on Tuesday (June 9) with a highest reading of 99 degrees F at Sioux City. Hot weather continued on Wednesday, along with more humidity, with 97 degree maximums at Clarinda, Red Oak and Shenandoah. However, persistent cloud cover and rainfall held daytime highs in the 60s over many northern and western areas on Thursday and Friday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.2 degrees above normal (72.4 degrees, weekly normal of 69.2), making this the warmest week since the last week of August 2014.