Much of this year's corn crop in Iowa is now tasseling and silking, or soon will be. "In a number of fields in central Iowa, pollination will be occurring this week. And with lower than normal temperatures and low humidity forecast, pollination should be good," observes Mark Johnson, an Iowa State University Extension field agronomist. "The soil moisture supply is certainly favorable."
Many farmers were unable to spray for weeds in June, given the excessive rain. The state averaged 9.96 inches of rain for the month, making it the third wettest June on record in Iowa. "The drier weather last week was very welcome as it allowed farmers to start getting back in the fields to get needed work done," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "Much of the crop in Iowa remains in good to excellent condition, even as some of the damage from the extremely wet weather and strong storms earlier in the growing season was becoming even more apparent."
Iowa corn and soybean crops are generally doing quite well
Iowa's corn crop rates 76% good to excellent, and soybeans are 73% good to excellent, according to the weekly statewide survey based on conditions as of July 13. The survey is conducted by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Nationally, the U.S. corn crop improved slightly this past week to a rating of 76% good to excellent, while soybeans remained at 72% good to excellent.
The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's site or on USDA's site. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Iowa welcomed drier conditions which allowed farmers to get back in the fields during the week ending July 13, 2014. Statewide there were 4.2 days suitable for fieldwork, the first time since mid-June that farmers have had over 3.0 days suitable across the whole state. Activities for the week include herbicide application, replanting drowned out crops, and cutting hay.
Topsoil moisture levels rated zero percent very short, 2% short, 73% adequate and 25% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated zero percent very short, 6% short, 77% adequate and 17% surplus. Central Iowa was the wettest, with well over one-third of the topsoil in surplus condition.
Survey shows 26% of Iowa corn acreage silking on July 13
Statewide, 26% of Iowa's corn acreage was silking as of July 13; that's 25 percentage points ahead of last year and 1 percentage point ahead of the 5-year average. For Iowa, 76% of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week.
Soybeans are also making good progress in the state. The survey showed 45% of Iowa's soybean acreage was blooming, 11 days ahead of the previous year and slightly ahead of normal. Six percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, 11 days ahead of last year and one day ahead of normal. And 73% of the 2014 Iowa soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition on July 13, unchanged from the previous week.
Iowa's oat crop was 97% headed, equal to the previous year but 1 percentage point behind the 5-year average. Of the oat acreage 60% has turned color, 18 percentage points ahead of the previous year but 10 points behind average. Oat harvest was 8% complete 5 percentage points ahead of last year but 11 points behind the normal pace. And 73% of the oat acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.
The first cutting of alfalfa hay was 97% complete in Iowa, 3 points behind last year and 1 point behind average. The second cutting of alfalfa was 27% complete, one day ahead of last year but 11 days behind normal. Also, 68% of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition rated 75% good to excellent. High insect counts caused stress to livestock across the state.
June was third wettest on record in more than 140 years
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for the week ended July 13, 2014
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The month of June 2014 was the third wettest June on record in more than 140 years of record-keeping. The state averaged nearly 10 inches of rain. However, for the week ending July 13, temperatures and precipitation averaged slightly below normal.
The week began with above normal temperatures and scattered thunderstorms on Sunday (July 6) and Monday (July 7). Temperatures reached as high as 96 degrees at Sidney on Sunday (July 6) with highs mostly in the 80s on Monday. Rainfall with the early week storms were mostly on the light side with just a few areas near the Missouri border approaching an inch of accumulation. Dry and cooler weather, with daytime highs mostly near 80 degrees, prevailed from Tuesday (July 8) into Friday (July 11).
Statewide average rainfall was just a little less than normal
The week's lowest temperature was recorded at Spencer on Wednesday morning at 50 degrees. Warmer and more humid weather returned for the weekend with the bulk of the weeks' rain falling between Friday night and Saturday night. Greatest rain totals were over west central, east central and extreme southern Iowa where a few areas received more than two inches. Weekly rain totals varied from only sprinkles at Oakland and Logan to 4.64 inches at Denison and 4.10 inches at North Liberty. The statewide average precipitation was 0.92 inches or just a little less than the weekly normal of 1.05 inches. Temperatures averaged 1.4 degrees below normal for the week.