Crops remain in very good condition across much of Iowa. The rains that crossed the state this past weekend were welcome in many areas. Unfortunately, some areas, especially in southern Iowa, have suffered as a result of too much moisture. That's according to USDA's latest weekly Iowa Crops & Weather Report, based on survey data gathered as of August 9 and compiled and released August 10.
Iowa's 2015 corn crop is rated 83% good to excellent and soybeans are 79% good to excellent, notes Greg Thessen, who directs the weekly survey at the USDA/NASS office in Des Moines. Nationally, the corn crop is 70% good to excellent, soybeans 63%, according to USDA. The Illinois corn crop is rated 56% good to excellent, Indiana 47%.
The complete weekly Iowa Crop & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Dry conditions throughout the week with precipitation not arriving until the weekend allowed Iowa farmers 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending August 9, 2015, according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Activities for the week included cutting hay as well as fungicide and insecticide applications. There were scattered reports of weed and insect issues in soybeans and fungus in corn fields. Seed corn detasseling was nearing completion across much of the state.
Corn maturity slightly behind 2014, but ahead of average
Topsoil moisture levels rated zero percent very short, 9% short, 78% adequate and 13% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated zero percent very short, 8% short, 80% adequate and 12% surplus. Limited precipitation across northern Iowa resulted in falling topsoil and subsoil moisture levels across the area, with northwest Iowa now reporting over one-quarter short to very short on topsoil moisture.
As of Aug. 9 for Iowa, 97% of the corn crop had reached the silking stage or beyond, with 51% reaching dough stage or beyond. That's slightly behind 2014, but 4 days ahead of the 5-year average. Reports of corn starting to dent were received from across the state. Corn condition rated 83% good to excellent.
Soybeans are running 5 days behind last year at this time
Soybeans blooming or beyond reached 92%, 5 days behind the previous year. For the state as a whole, 73% of soybeans were setting pods. Soybean condition rated 79% good to excellent. For Iowa, 91% of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, 4 days ahead of last year, but slightly behind the average.
The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 85%, 6 days behind last year and 9 days behind normal. The third cutting of alfalfa hay is 28% complete, 4 days behind average. Hay condition dropped slightly to 68% good to excellent, while pasture condition dropped 3 percentage points to 73% good to excellent. Livestock experienced normal summer heat stress and mild pressure from insects.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—For week ending August 9, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Iowa saw a very wide range in precipitation totals for the week ending August 9. Parts of northern Iowa recorded nothing more than sprinkles for the week at such locations as Battle Creek (Ida County), Estherville, Mason City, Charles City, Fayette and Guttenberg. Meanwhile, locally heavy rains fell over far southwest Iowa on Sunday (Aug. 2) night, Tuesday (Aug. 4) and Saturday (Aug. 8) night.
Wide range in rain totals for various locations in Iowa
Randolph in northern Fremont County reported 9.21 inches of rain for the week with 6.85 inches of the total coming in a Saturday night deluge. Bedford registered three rain events of 1.73 inches or more for a weekly total of 6.90 inches. This follows 12.38 inches of rain at Bedford during July. A widespread area of three to five inches of rain also fell Saturday night August 8 across central Iowa from just south of Fort Dodge to just southwest of Iowa City. Fortunately this later storm area had been dry for the previous ten days.
Statewide average rainfall last week was near normal
Other than the southern one-third of Iowa, most of the state was dry during this past week until Saturday evening. Additionally rains fell from Sunday (Aug. 9) evening into Monday (Aug. 10) morning, mostly over the west one-half of the state, but fell too late to be reflected in this week's statistics. Overall the statewide average precipitation was 0.94 inches, or about the same as the weekly normal of 0.96 inches.
Relatively cool and dry air prevailed over most of the state through Thursday (Aug. 6) morning. Elkader was the cool spot with a Wednesday (Aug. 5) morning low of 48 degrees. Warmer and more humid air prevailed late in the week with Sioux Center reporting the highest temperature at 91 degrees on Friday (Aug. 7). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged about two degrees below normal over eastern Iowa to about a degree above normal over the west with a statewide average of 0.7 degrees below normal. The Saturday night storms also brought some large hail and high winds with the hail reports concentrated in the vicinity of Sioux City with most of the wind reports occurring from the Iowa Great Lakes area southeastward to near Ames.