In Iowa, the nation's largest corn producer, 2% of the corn was planted as of April 20, 2014, compared with none a year ago at this time. The 5-year average is 11%. That's according to the weekly crops and weather report released April 21 by USDA's National Ag Statistics Service office in Des Moines. The statewide survey for the week ending April 20 shows rain and cool weather slowed fieldwork early in the week, but temperatures did rise at week's end.
"Corn planting is just starting to get underway and will likely accelerate rapidly if temperatures continue to increase," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "Looking at the subsoil moisture situation, much of the state remains fairly dry and will need more moisture for the growing season."
On a national basis, the weekly USDA survey shows 6% of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of Sunday April 20, 2014. That's slightly better than last year's slow pace of 4% but behind the 5-year average of 14%. In Illinois, 5% of the 2014 corn was planted as of April 20, up 1% from a year ago but down from the 22% 5-year average. Indiana was 1% planted, same as in 2013. Corn planting had not yet begun in Minnesota and Ohio, while Missouri was 26% planted, vs. 12% a year ago, USDA reports.
When calendar gets to April 24 in Iowa, it's time to plant corn
"There has been some corn planted in central and north central Iowa," says Mark Johnson, an Iowa State University Extension field agronomist. "Some small isolated areas have made some real progress, with most areas having very little corn planted. Southern areas of the state are farther along. On our Monday morning ISU Extension crops team teleconference held April 21, there were reports of considerable planting activity in south central Iowa."
He adds, "Many agronomists, myself included, feel by the time April 24 arrives, it's time to plant corn whenever the soil moisture condition is right; soil temperature is no longer relevant. If it's not 50 degrees F, it soon will be."
The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather survey report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website or on USDA's site. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Rain and cool temperatures early in the week ending April 20, 2014, continued to slow fieldwork, according to the weekly survey by the Iowa office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average temperatures were below normal for the week, but at the end of the week temperatures started to rise. Statewide there were 3.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fertilizer, anhydrous and herbicides, seeding, and disking.
Subsoil moisture is 16% very short, 39% short statewide
Topsoil moisture levels rated 6% very short, 22% short, 65% adequate and 7% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 16% very short, 39% short, 44% adequate and 1% surplus. Northwest Iowa was the driest with 18% of topsoil reported in very short condition.
As of April 20 statewide, 51% of oats have been planted, 29 percentage points ahead of last year but 17% points behind average. And 7% of the oats had emerged, ahead of last year's 3%, but 17% behind the 5-year average. A few farmers reported corn being planted.
Pasture condition rated 11% very poor, 23% poor, 48% fair, 18% good and zero percent excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as good, but most cattle have not yet been moved onto pastures.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended April 20, 2014
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past reporting week began with moderate to heavy rain over most of Iowa on Sunday (April 13) with the rain mixing with or changing to snow over the northwest one-half of the state. A few local rain totals exceeded four inches from south central into east central Iowa while snow totals reached 3.6 inches at Remsen in Plymouth County. Light rain and/or snow fell across all but far western Iowa on Monday (April 14). Dry weather prevailed for most of Iowa for the remainder of the reporting week. The exceptions were some light showers scattered across the northwest one-third on Wednesday and some isolated thunderstorms over west central and north central Iowa early Sunday (April 20) morning.
Last week was Iowa's wettest in 42 weeks
Weekly rain totals varied from 0.07 inches at Rock Rapids to 4.87 inches at Pella. The statewide average precipitation was 1.52 inches or nearly double the weekly normal of 0.85 inches. This was the wettest week in 42 weeks (late June 2013). Temperatures were below normal for most of the week. The coldest readings were on Monday (Arpil 14) and Tuesday (April 15). High temperatures were mostly in the 30s on Monday while all of the state recorded a hard freeze on Tuesday morning. A slow warming trend began at mid-week with daytime highs mostly in the 70s by Saturday (April 19).
Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Tuesday morning lows of 12 degrees at Sheldon and Sibley to a Saturday afternoon high of 82 degrees at Little Sioux. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 6.2 degrees below normal. Soil temps at the four inch depth warmed nicely thanks to much warmer weather over the weekend and were averaging in the 50s statewide by Easter Sunday afternoon.