DES MOINES - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
"The cool wet weather across the state at the beginning of last week prevented most farmers from getting in the field, but we could see quite a bit of activity if the recent warm dry weather hangs on for a few more days," Northey said. "This April has been the wettest we have seen in the 141 years of weather records compiled by the State Climatologist, and the result has been a very slow start to the planting season."
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
The week ending April 28, 2013 began with unfavorable conditions, but dry and warmer weather across Iowa late in the week allowed fieldwork to resume. There was an average of 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field activities included tilling and application of fertilizers and herbicides.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 7 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 13 percent very short, 31 percent short and 51 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.
Although oat planting picked up pace and was 45 percent complete, it was well behind last year's 97 percent and the five-year average of 79 percent. Farmers began to plant a small amount of corn.
Pasture and range condition rated 16 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 40 percent fair and 19 percent good and 2 percent excellent.
By Harry Hillaker
Iowa Department of
Agriculture & Land
The past reporting week began with unseasonably cool and wet weather. Rain began over the northwest one-half of Iowa on Sunday (21st) and changed to snow over about the northwest one-quarter of the state on Monday (22nd).
A few areas from west central into north central Iowa picked up more than an inch of rain while snow accumulated up to six inches in Lyon County. Light rain fell over the southeast one-third of Iowa on Tuesday (23rd) with some snow also reported. Very light rain fell nearly statewide on Wednesday (24th). A welcome period of dry weather began on Thursday and continued into Sunday (28th) with the exception of a few showers in extreme southeast Iowa on Saturday. Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.04 inches at Dubuque to 1.84 inches at Underwood in Pottawattamie County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.53 inches while normal for the week is 0.94 inches.
The rain pushed the statewide average precipitation for the month to an April record of 6.52 inches (old record among 141 years of data was 6.25 inches in 1999).
Monthly rain totals have been more than double usual April totals over parts of eastern Iowa but were only near normal over portions of the northwest and southwest corners of the state. Meanwhile temperatures over the past week were well below normal through Thursday and finally climbed to well above normal over northwest Iowa by Sunday (28th). Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Wednesday morning low of 21 degrees at Sibley to a Sunday afternoon high of 86 degrees at Sioux City.
Sunday's readings were the first 80's recorded in Iowa this year and marked the latest start to eighty degree weather in the state since 1993. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 4.5 degrees below normal. Finally, soil temperatures warmed into the mid to upper 50's statewide as of Sunday (28th) but will likely fall back into the forties when much cooler weather returns at mid-week.