DES MOINES - 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.
"Planting was slowed by the wet weather that affected much of the state for several days last week, but 23 percent of the corn crop has now been planted," Northey said. "Farmers will look to make significant progress on corn and some will likely start planting beans if we do get several days with warm dry weather as forecast."
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
Cool weather and persistent wet conditions hindered fieldwork in Iowa during the week ending May 4, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average temperatures were below normal for the week, but average precipitation was above normal. Statewide there were 0.9 days suitable for fieldwork.
Recent precipitation improved soil moisture levels. Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 12 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 10 percent very short, 32 percent short, 54 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa remained the driest with over one-third of topsoil reported as very short or short of moisture.
Planting progress advanced little during the week. Oat seeding was 73 percent complete, 9 percentage points ahead of last year but 16 percentage points behind average.
Thirty-eight percent of the oat acreage had emerged, ahead of last year's 21 percent, but 23 percentage points behind the five-year average. Twenty-three percent of the expected corn acreage was planted, 9 days ahead of last year but 10 days behind normal. Corn started to emerge. There were scattered reports of soybeans being planted.
Pasture condition rated 7 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 31 percent good and 4 percent excellent. Livestock have been moved onto pastures in parts of southern Iowa where pastures have seen more growth.
A very slow moving storm system brought a prolonged period of rain to the state over the past reporting week. Rain first moved into Iowa on Saturday (26th) night and finally exited the state Thursday (1st) morning with the heaviest rain falling on Sunday (27th).
A few brief periods of very light rain also moved through the state over the first weekend of May but were mostly inconsequential. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.55 inches near Rock Rapids in Lyon County of far northwest Iowa to 4.42 inches at Bondurant in Polk County of central Iowa. The rain changed to snow over portions of north central Iowa on Tuesday (29th) night and Wednesday (30th) morning bringing about two inches of accumulation to parts of Mitchell, Howard, Floyd and Chickasaw counties.
The statewide average precipitation was 1.64 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches.
This was the third consecutive week with above normal precipitation for Iowa, however the northwest and southwest corners of the state have continued to lag normal during this time period.
Temperatures during the week were mostly below normal. Only the southeast corner of Iowa climbed above normal on Sunday (27th) and Monday (28th) while the far south just barely edged back above normal on Saturday (3rd). Daytime highs were mostly in the 40's across northern Iowa from Monday (28th) through Thursday (1st).
Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from three degrees below normal along the Missouri border to eight degrees below normal near the Minnesota border with a statewide average of 5.7 degrees below normal. Severe thunderstorms were reported from 13 southeast Iowa counties Sunday (27th) afternoon.
The strongest of these storms produced a tornado which touched down northeast of Ottumwa and continued northeastward nearly fifty miles to west of Iowa City resulting in two fatalities in Keokuk County.