Dry weather through the past several days has allowed Iowa farmers to virtually wrap up corn planting for 2012, with 90% of the state's corn acreage in the ground as of Sunday May 13. That' compares with a 5-year average of 79% for that date.
Over 55% of the state's corn has emerged, 6 days ahead of normal. Iowa annually leads the nation in corn production. Nationally, 87% of the corn crop is now planted, ahead of the 68% 5-year average.
These figures come from the weekly Crops & Weather Report released May 14 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. It's based on the weekly statewide survey of crop reporters as of May 13. For Iowa, the planting progress is a strong come-from-behind effort. As of two weeks ago, less than 10% of the corn was planted as Iowa endured above average rainfall for April. State climatologist Harry Hillaker says last week saw rainfall of .43 inches as an average statewide for Iowa, while normal for the week is 1.01 inches.
"The warm, dry weather of last week allowed fields to dry out and farmers to take advantage," says Hillaker. Many farmers are finished with corn and moving on to soybeans this week. The weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia.
Locally heavy rainfall has caused some farmers to have to replant corn
After he got 3 inches of rain in a short time period last week on his southern Iowa farm, Decatur County farmer Mark Mendenhall had to replant about 200 acres of corn.
Recent rains have improved Iowa's topsoil and subsoil moisture, so 91% of the state is now adequate or better for moisture. With the improvement in soil moisture this spring, the early plantings and increased corn acreage have given people reason to talk about the 2012 corn crop to be large. Corn planted earlier than normal will enable pollination to take place before the worst heat of late July and early August hit, and the advanced maturity of the crop would also dodge any early frost that may hit in September.
CROP REPORT: With dry and warmer weather farmers worked at a rapid pace and Iowa saw widespread planting of both corn and soybeans this past week. Corn planting advanced 26 percentage points statewide with each district of the state increasing at least 19%. Farmers statewide planted nearly one-third of the expected 2012 soybean crop during the week ending May 13. Northwest Iowa had the largest bean acreage planting increase with 39 percentage points.
There were 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared with just 1.5 days the previous week. Topsoil moisture levels rated zero percent very short, 9% short, 83% adequate and 8% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 4% very short, 16% short, 71% adequate and 9% surplus.
Corn planting 90% complete in Iowa as of May 13, ahead of last year's 85%
Corn planting now stands at 90% complete in Iowa, ahead of last year's 85% and the 5-year average of 79%. West Central Iowa farmers lead the way for corn planting with 96% complete. Fifty-five percent of the corn crop has emerged, 6 days ahead of normal. Soybean planting was 39% complete as of May 13, just ahead of last year's 36% and the 5-year average of 30%. Soybeans have emerged in each district of the state. Ninety-five percent of the oat acreage has emerged, ahead of last year's 86% and the 5-year average of 76%. Seven percent of the oat crop has headed, 19 days ahead of normal. Oat condition improved to zero percent very poor, 2% poor, 18% fair, 64% good and 16% excellent.
Seventy-three percent of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated good to excellent, equal to the previous week. On May 13 pasture and range condition rated 1% very poor, 4% poor, 22% fair, 48% good and 25% excellent.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended May 13, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Iowa recorded a much drier week with near seasonal temperatures and no severe storms. The bulk of the reporting week's precipitation came on Sunday (6th) evening and night with greatest amounts coming across the southeast. Otherwise, there were scattered light showers across the northern one-third of the state on Tuesday (8th) and isolated showers and thunderstorms over the southeast one-third of Iowa late Friday (11th) and on Saturday (12th). Rain totals for the week varied from none at Toledo, Clutier and Belle Plaine to 2.67 inches near Montrose in Lee County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.43 inches while normal for the week is 1.01 inches.
Dry air and mostly clear skies allowed wide swings in temperature with morning lows down to 34 degrees at Elkader on Thursday morning and 35 degrees at Cresco on Sunday morning to a Thursday afternoon high of 87 degrees at Sioux City. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.3 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures were averaging in the 60's statewide as of Sunday (13th).