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.
"Farmers, like everyone else, are ready for some more warm weather that will allow them to get out in the fields and prepare for the growing season," Northey said. "Soils remain very cool, with frost still in the ground in Northern Iowa, and will need to warm. Some fertilizer applications have started."
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Warmer temperatures allowed some farmers to do fieldwork during the week ending April 6, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Farmers in northern Iowa were able to get some fieldwork done early in the week before being halted by precipitation. Southern Iowa farmers were able to spend more time in the field with the South Central District averaging 4 days suitable, the highest in the State. Activities for the week included applying fertilizer and seeding oats. Farmers across the state were also busy preparing machinery for the upcoming planting season.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 8 percent very short, 30 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 16 percent very short, 44 percent short, 39 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Frost was still in the ground in most parts of the State causing little moisture to absorb to subsoil levels.
Seven percent of oats have been planted, 2 percent behind last year and 22 percent behind average. Pasture condition rated 19 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 19 percent good and 0 percent excellent. Most pastures were dormant or just starting to turn color. Livestock conditions were reported as good, except for areas where hogs have been affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv).