Iowa farmers took advantage of good weather and big equipment this past week to put a lot of corn in the ground—despite the rains on Saturday and Sunday. USDA's latest weekly survey shows 50% of the state's 2012 corn acreage is planted as of April 29. That's a big jump in one week, as only 9% was planted as of April 22.
The weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report, released April 30, says "despite receiving rainfall late in the week, corn planting advanced 41% and now stands at 50% complete, compared with 7% at this time last year and the 5-year average of 32%." USDA says 5% of the 2012 corn crop has emerged as of April 29—that's 10 days ahead of normal.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey notes: "Farmers were able to make good progress last week and now half of the corn crop is planted statewide, which is good news. Farmers will be anxious to get the rest of the crop in the ground and take advantage of any dry weather this week to get in the fields."
Iowa corn planting now half-complete and 5% of the acres are already emerged
The weekly report, based on a statewide survey of crop reporters, was compiled and released by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service on Monday afternoon. The complete report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia.
Nationally, USDA says 53% of the 2012 corn crop is planted compared with 12% a year ago. Among the Corn Belt states, Illinois is 79% planted; Indiana 70%; Missouri 75%; Ohio 57%; Minnesota 48% and Nebraska 44%.
Iowa's state climatologist, Harry Hillaker, says "the statewide average rainfall was .83 inch or just a little less than the weekly normal of .95 inch. Soil temperatures as of Sunday April 29 were averaging nearly 50 degrees statewide."
Rains of last couple weeks have helped improve Iowa's soil moisture
The statewide survey as of April 29 shows topsoil moisture has improved to 1% very short, 7% short, 76% adequate and 16% surplus. Subsoil moisture also improved and is now rated 7% very short, 21% short, 65% adequate and 7% surplus. That eases concerns that had arisen earlier this year after an exceptionally dry summer and fall of 2011 when as much as 80% of the state's soil was deficient of moisture.
However, there are areas of northwest Iowa and north central Iowa that are still less than adequate in terms of reserve subsoil moisture supplies for 2012, the survey shows. Northwest Iowa rates 70% very short to short as of April 29; North central Iowa rates 45% very short to short. Subsoil moisture supply is important, indicating the amount of plant-available moisture in the top 5-feet of soil.
Planting of soybeans has begun in some areas of Iowa as of April 29
The survey says soybean planting in Iowa is 3% complete as of April 29. Southeast Iowa is leading the way with 12% of the soybeans planted in that area.
CROP REPORT: Corn planting progressed rapidly in most areas as Iowa's farmers took full advantage of dry fields early in the week ending April 29. Corn planting advanced at least 25 percentage points in each district of the state. However, the weather became much cooler and wetter at the end of the week ending planting activities.
There were 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork in Iowa during the week, compared with just 1.8 days the previous week. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 1% very short, 7% short, 76% adequate and 16% surplus. Subsoil moisture also improved and is now rated 7% very short, 21% short, 65% adequate and 7% surplus.
Despite receiving rainfall late in the week, Iowa corn planting advanced 41 percentage points and now stands at 50% complete, compared with 7% at this time last year and the 5- year average of 32%. Five percent of the corn crop has emerged, 10 days ahead of normal. The state's soybean planting is 3% complete with Southeast Iowa leading the way with 12% planted. Oat planting is 98% complete, ahead of last year's 80% and the 5-year average of 76%. Seventy-six percent of the expected oat acreage has emerged, well ahead of last year's 38% and the 5-year average of 36%. Oat condition improved to 1% very poor, 2% poor, 23% fair, 63% good and 11% excellent.
As of April 29, 67% of Iowa's pasture and range land is now rated good to excellent, a 2 percentage point decrease from the previous week. Pasture and range condition rates 1% very poor, 4% poor, 28% fair, 47% good and 20% excellent.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending April 29, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Ag & Land Stewardship
Iowa experienced a rather typical week of spring weather during the week ending April 29, 2012--characterized by widely varying temperatures and occasional showers and thunderstorms. The reporting week began on the cold side of normal with morning lows mostly in the 30's on Monday (24th) with a freeze reported in a few northwestern locations. A rapid warm-up commenced on Tuesday (25th) with afternoon highs ranging from the upper 60s northeast to upper 80s west. Wednesday (26th) was the warmest day of the week in most areas with highs climbing into the low 90s at a few southwest Iowa locations. Temperatures dropped to more seasonal levels on Thursday (27th) and were well below normal over the weekend with daytime highs mostly in the 50s.
Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Monday morning lows of 28 degrees at Battle Creek, Sibley and Spencer to a Wednesday afternoon high of 92 degrees at Red Oak. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged two to three degrees below normal across the east to three to four degrees above normal in the west with a statewide average of 0.6 degrees above normal. Dry weather prevailed in most areas through Friday morning. However, rain fell statewide from Friday afternoon into Saturday morning with rain amounts around one-half inch in most areas. Rain also fell over the southeast three-fourths of the state on Sunday with greatest amounts of around an inch in parts of east central and southeast Iowa. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.34 near Lake Park to 2.01 inches at Keosauqua. The statewide average rainfall was 0.83 inch or just a little less than the weekly normal of 0.95 inch. Soil temperatures as of Sunday (29th) were averaging near fifty degrees statewide.