High temperatures and humidity last week were balanced with rain in most of Iowa, and the state’s 2016 corn and soybean crops responded well. The latest weekly statewide crop condition survey by USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, released July 25, shows 82% of Iowa corn and 81% of the soybeans are rated in good or excellent condition. The 2016 hay crop has also had a good summer, and pastures in much of the state are in great shape.
Temperatures last week as a whole for Iowa averaged 5.2 degrees above normal. Heat indices reached a maximum of 119 degrees F at Shenandoah in southwest Iowa on Thursday July 21. But Iowa received a statewide average of 2.09 inches of rain, more than double the normal of 0.98 inches for that week.
Much of Iowa has received welcome rains the past two weeks
“Here in southeast Iowa our crops are looking good, and corn and soybean markets are reflecting that,” observes Virgil Schmitt, Iowa State University Extension agronomist. “Probably our biggest concern, if you look at the online Drought Monitor provided by the National Weather Service, it shows counties along the Missouri border in southeast and south central Iowa are still rated as being in a moderate drought. Also, there’s an area abnormally dry that runs from southeast Iowa diagonally across the state to northwest Iowa. Those areas are a little concerning but, on the other hand, in the last two weeks the areas I cover in southeast and eastern Iowa received welcome rains, conditions have turned around and crops are really looking pretty good.”
Same story in some other areas too. “Rains finally caught up for us in July,” says Dean Coleman, farming in Humboldt County in north central Iowa. “We only had seven-tenths of an inch of rain in June. But crops look good here now in late July. Hopefully, conditions can stay on track and we will get favorable weather, so we can finish this crop out in good shape.”
Recent heat and humidity helped speed crop development
The complete weekly Iowa Crop Condition & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship’s website IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Recent heat and humidity helped speed crop development although frequent rains allowed Iowa farmers only four days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 24, 2016, according to USDA’s survey. Activities for the week included aerial fungicide application to corn and cutting hay when fields were dry enough.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 9% short, 81% adequate and 9% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 2% very short, 10% short, 82% adequate and 6% surplus.
Survey shows 87% of Iowa corn crop has reached silking
The weekly survey shows 87% of Iowa’s corn crop had reached silking stage as of July 24 (eight days ahead of normal) with 11% of the crop reaching dough stage. Corn condition rated 82% good to excellent. Soybeans blooming reached 83%, six days ahead of both last year and the five-year average. And 44% of Iowa’s soybeans were setting pods, six days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 81% good to excellent last week.
Oats harvested for grain or seed reached 54%, two days ahead of last year. Oat crop condition rated 79% good to excellent. The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 87% complete as of July 24, more than two weeks ahead of last year. The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 13%. Hay condition rated 73% good to excellent, while pasture condition rated 62% good to excellent. Pastures and hay crops were growing. Livestock experienced some stress due to high levels of heat and humidity.
Iowa temperature last week averaged 5.2 degrees above normal
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending July 24, 2016
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Last week was a hot, humid and wet week across Iowa. Temperatures were above normal throughout the week with the hottest weather from Wednesday (July 20) through Saturday (July 23) when heat indices exceeded 110 degrees somewhere in the state each day. Actual temperatures during the week varied from a Monday (July 18) morning low of 55 degrees at Algona to a Wednesday (July 20) afternoon high of 97 degrees at Sioux City and Thursday (July 21) highs of 97 at Des Moines, Lamoni and Sioux City. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.2 degrees above normal. Heat indices reached a maximum of 119 degrees at Shenandoah on Thursday.
Iowa’s rainfall last week was more than double normal amount
Thunderstorms brought rain to the south one-half of the state from Sunday (July 17) night into Monday (July 18) morning with very heavy rains in parts of southwest Iowa. Rain fell nearly statewide on Tuesday (July 19) with locally heavy rain falling across central Iowa. Wednesday (July 20) brought rain to extreme eastern and far northwestern Iowa. Another round of thunderstorms brought rain to the eastern one-third of the state on Thursday (July 21) night into Friday (July 22) morning. Finally, one last event brought rain to about the north one-half of the state on Saturday (July 23) morning with locally heavy rain in far northeast Iowa.
Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.15 inches at Akron on the South Dakota border to 6.19 inches at Bedford and 6.60 inches between Ankeny and Des Moines. The statewide average precipitation was 2.09 inches, or more than double the normal of 0.98 inches. This was the third consecutive week of much above normal rainfall.