The continued pattern of rain showers and storms moving across the state means crops generally have plenty of moisture, which is not usually the case in late July. "While there are certainly areas that have seen some crop damage due to the weather, in general both corn and beans are in good condition across much of the state," notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.
The latest weekly USDA crops and weather survey shows Iowa's 2015 corn crop is rated as 83% in good to excellent condition as of July 26. Soybean condition is 76% good to excellent.
Nationally, the U.S. corn crop rates 70% good to excellent and the crop is maturing at a normal pace. The U.S. soybean crop is 62% in the good to excellent category, with 71% of the plants blooming versus a 72% average over the last five years. Soybean plants setting pods nationally are estimated at 34% compared to a 31% average for the last five years.
The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
Northwest Iowa is driest area of the state entering August
CROP REPORT: A dry start with rain near the end of the week allowed Iowa farmers five days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 26, 2015, according to the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Activities for the week included cutting hay, aerial fungicide application to corn, and herbicide and insecticide application to soybeans. There were reports of crop stress due to the hot, dry weather, as well as weed problems in soybeans.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 6% short, 78% adequate and 16% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 5% short, 79% adequate and 16% surplus. Northwest Iowa was the driest area of the state with one-quarter rated very short to short on topsoil moisture.
Iowa corn crop has now reached 83% silking, 11% in dough stage
As of July 26, 83% of Iowa's corn crop had reached the silking stage or beyond, with 11% reaching the dough stage. Corn condition rated 83% good to excellent. Soybeans blooming or beyond reached 78%. Thirty-seven percent of soybeans were setting pods, slightly ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 76% good to excellent last week. Oat acreage turning color or beyond reached 96%, with 57% of the oat crop harvested for grain or seed, five days ahead of last year. Oat crop condition rating increased to 81% good to excellent.
The first cutting of alfalfa hay neared completion, while the second cutting reached 68%, one day behind last year, and nearly a week behind the average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay got underway last week. Hay condition was rated at 68% good to excellent, while pasture condition rated 77% good to excellent. Livestock saw some stress during the day, but generally recovered at night.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY for week ended July 26, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Statewide average precipitation above normal again last week
The past reporting week began with cooler and drier than normal weather prevailing through Thursday (July 23). However, there was rain scattered over much of the state on Monday (July 20) but amounts were under one-third of an inch at all but a few locations with the early week storms. Much warmer and more humid weather was the rule on Friday (July 24) and through the weekend. Thunderstorms brought rain to much of the eastern one-half of Iowa on Friday with heaviest rain in the Mason City area.
Thunderstorms were also widespread across the southern one-third of the state on Saturday (July 25) with rain falling over much of Iowa on Sunday (July 26) morning. Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.01 inches at Davenport up to 4.89 inches at the Mason City Airport. The statewide average precipitation amount was 1.27 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches.
Six of the past seven weeks, Iowa has had above normal rainfall
This was the sixth week of the past seven to bring above normal precipitation to Iowa. However, rain totals over these past seven weeks have been slightly below normal over much of the northern one-third of Iowa with rain totals well above normal over much of the southern portion of the state.
Temperatures for the week varied from a Tuesday (July 21) morning low of 48 degrees at Swea City in Kossuth County to a Friday (July 24) afternoon high of 97 degrees at Hawarden along the South Dakota border. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.2 degrees below normal with the weekend heat nearly cancelling out the earlier mild weather. The combination of heat and humidity pushed the heat index (what the air 'feels like') to 103 degrees at Sioux City on Friday and 101 degrees at Davenport and Iowa City on Saturday.