The condition of Iowa's corn crop has slipped slightly from a week earlier, according to statewide survey results released May 29 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Iowa crop was rated 81% "good to excellent" on May 20 but dipped to 77% "good to excellent" as of May 27.
"Farms that missed the recent rains of last week and the week before, particularly farms in the southern part of the state, are drying out quickly due to the high winds and warm temperatures we've had. Those farms would welcome some moisture," observed Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, on May 29. Rain is forecast to start moving into the state on Wednesday night May 30 or Thursday May 31.
The state's corn crop still rates better than the national average of 72% good to excellent. Iowa's corn rating of 77% in that category contrasts with the number 2 corn producing state, Illinois, which rates 66% good to excellent. Indiana reported 56% good to excellent as of May 27; Ohio is 72%, Minnesota is 84% and Nebraska 79%.
Southern Iowa is fighting corn rooting problems and seedling diseases
In most of the state, farmers have benefitted from near-ideal planting conditions this spring. However, southern Iowa has fought root development problems and seedling diseases due to heavy moisture followed by a cold snap in late April. "It is way too early to give up on the crop, but we have indeed seen more rooting problems this spring than usual," says Roger Elmore, Iowa State University Extension corn agronomist. The cold spell that hit Iowa in late April caused some forms of seedling blight to develop.
The weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site www.nass.usda.gov/ia. Here's a summary of the latest report:
CROP REPORT: Although recent weeks of dry weather have allowed rapid planting, a lack of significant rainfall in some areas of Iowa has resulted in poor soybean stands with seeds lying in dry soil. Persistent high winds through the week ending May 27 slowed spraying of crops and dried out soils.
There were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared with 6.6 days the previous week. Rainfall amounts in Northwest Iowa ranged from 1 to 4 inches for the week, leaving only 3.4 days suitable for fieldwork while farmers in the rest of the State were able to work in their fields at least 5 days. Topsoil moisture levels rated 15% very short, 36% short, 47% adequate and 2% surplus. South central Iowa is the driest with 83% of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short while northwest Iowa has only 9% rated short to very short. Statewide as of May 27, subsoil moisture rated 10% very short, 32% short, 56% adequate and 2% surplus.
Soybean planting is almost done in Iowa, running ahead of last year's pace
As of May 27 an estimated 95% of the 2012 Iowa corn crop had emerged, 11 days ahead of normal. Corn condition has decreased slightly to 1% very poor, 3% poor, 19% fair, 59% good and 18% excellent. Soybean planting stands at 97% complete, ahead of last year's 84% and the 5-year average of 83%. Looking at soybeans, 66% of the state's expected 2012 soybean acreage has emerged, ahead of last year's 43% and the 5-year average of 40%. Over 35% of the oat crop has headed, which is more than 2 weeks ahead of normal. Oat condition decreased slightly to zero percent very poor, 3% poor, 24% fair, 61% good and 12% excellent.
Weather conditions have been near optimal for cutting alfalfa hay with 72% of the first cutting complete, compared to just 4% last year and the 5-year average of 12%. Hay condition is rated 1% very poor, 5% poor, 25% fair, 57% good and 12% excellent.
Fifty-seven percent of Iowa's pasture and range land is now rated good to excellent, an 11 percentage point decrease from the previous week. As of May 27 pasture and range condition rated 2% very poor, 8% poor, 33% fair, 44% good and 13% excellent. Livestock conditions have been generally good with some reports of heat stress over the Memorial Day weekend, along with an increasing number of insects and coughing.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending May 27, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past reporting week began with dry weather on Monday (May 21) and Tuesday (May 22) with thunderstorms bringing rain to the northwest one-quarter of the state on Wednesday (23rd) night where one to two inches fell. Rain was scattered over much of Iowa on Thursday (May 24) and Friday (May 25); however, amounts were mostly light except for a small portion of northeast Iowa where one to two inches of rain fell. Some rain persisted into Saturday (May 26) morning over the northeast. Sunday (May 27) was dry until thunderstorms moved into the far northwest late however this last rain event came too late to be reflected in this week's report.
Southern two-thirds of Iowa could use some additional rainfall as of May 27
This week's rain was very welcome; however amounts were on the light side over most of the southern two-thirds of Iowa where additional rain is needed to moisten parched topsoil. Weekly rain totals varied from just sprinkles at Wapello, Washington, Mount Pleasant and Keokuk to 3.46 inches at Clermont in Fayette County and 3.09 inches in south central Woodbury County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.76 inch while normal for the week is 1.05 inches.
Temperatures began on the low side with highs mostly in the 70's on Monday with Elkader starting the day with a morning low of 37 degrees. Highs were mostly in the 80's on Tuesday and Wednesday with a few low 90's. A cool front split the state on Thursday and Friday with highs in the mid-60s northwest to the mid 80's southeast. Hot weather returned for the weekend with highs in the 90's south on Saturday and over most of Iowa on Sunday. Bloomfield reached 94 degrees on Saturday May 26 while Jefferson reported 96 degrees on Sunday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.9 degrees above normal for Iowa.