The recent heat is helping Iowa's 2015 corn and soybean crops continue to mature. Generally, things look pretty good across the state with 82% of the corn and 77% of the soybeans rated as good-to-excellent condition. That's according to USDA's latest weekly crops and weather survey, based on conditions statewide as of August 16.
Iowa is the nation's top producing corn state and the corn condition slipped one point from the week before to 82% good to excellent, says Greg Thessen, who directs the survey from the USDA-NASS office in Des Moines. Illinois remained at 56% and Indiana improved one point to 48% good to excellent. Missouri's corn condition slipped one point to 50% good to excellent. Nationwide, the 2015 corn condition is 69% good to excellent, which soybeans are rated at 63%.
The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website at IowaAgriculture.gov and on USDA's site at nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Mostly dry conditions throughout the week allowed Iowa farmers 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending August 16, 2015, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is the first time this year the state has averaged more than 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork in consecutive weeks.
Soil moisture reserves average 87% adequate to surplus
Activities for the week included cutting hay, harvesting oats, and fungicide and insecticide applications. Spraying activities were wrapping up in some areas. Reports of crops showing stress due to dry weather conditions trickled in this week. There were scattered reports of sudden death syndrome in soybean fields.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 13% short, 76% adequate and 10% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 11% short, 78% adequate and 10% surplus. Sparse precipitation in north central and northeastern Iowa resulted in falling topsoil and subsoil moisture levels across the area, with subsoil moisture now around one-quarter short to very short.
As of August 16 Iowa's corn crop is now 14% dented
In Iowa, 74% of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, with 14% dented or beyond, five days behind the five-year average. Corn condition rated 82% good to excellent. Soybeans blooming or beyond reached 95%, eight days behind the previous year. Also as of Aug. 16, 84% of Iowa soybeans were setting pods, with a few reports of soybeans starting to turn color. Soybean condition rated 77% good to excellent. And 97% of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, one day ahead of last year, but two days behind the average.
After spending three weeks lagging behind last year, the second cutting of alfalfa hay was equal to last year with 95% complete as of August 16. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 45% complete, three days behind average. Hay condition rated 66% good to excellent, while pasture condition dropped 6 percentage points to 67% good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—For week ended August 16, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Warm and humid conditions prevailed for most of the past week although Tuesday (Aug. 11) and Wednesday (Aug. 12) brought cooler weather to much of Iowa. Temperature extremes varied from a Wednesday morning low of 50 degrees at Elkader to a Saturday (Aug. 15) afternoon high of 92 degrees F at Bellevue. Temperatures for the week as a whole varied from just below normal over far southeast Iowa to about three degrees above normal across northern sections of the state. The statewide average temperature was 1.5 degrees above normal.
Rainfall has been quite variable across Iowa in recent weeks
Most of the reporting week's precipitation came on Sunday (Aug. 9) evening and night and primarily fell across the northwest two-thirds of the state. There were also some localized showers over east-central Iowa on Monday (Aug. 10) afternoon, as well as some light rain over portions of the northeast and southeast corners of the state on Friday (Aug. 14). Rain totals varied from none at scattered locations across southern and eastern Iowa including Lamoni, Fairfield, Iowa City, Cresco and Fayette to a 2.72 inch total at Spirit Lake.
The statewide average precipitation was 0.28 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches. This was the Iowa's driest reporting week in 15 weeks (week ending May 3). However, heavy rains fell over portions of the northwest one-third of Iowa Sunday (Aug. 16) evening into Monday (Aug. 17) morning, but largely fell too late to be reflected in this week's statistics.