Crop conditions and weather summary, week ending Aug. 16

USDA, NASSMostly dry conditions throughout the week allowed Iowa farmers 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending Aug. 16, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is the first time this year the state has averaged more than 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork in consecutive weeks.

Activities for the week included cutting hay, harvesting oats, and fungicide and insecticide applications. Spraying activities were wrapping up in some areas. Reports of crops showing stress due to dry weather conditions trickled in this week. There were scattered reports of sudden death syndrome in soybean fields.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 13 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. In west central Iowa ratings were 11 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 11 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. In west central Iowa ratings were 4 percent short, 89 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Sparse precipitation in north central and northeastern Iowa resulted in falling topsoil and subsoil moisture levels across the area, with subsoil moisture now around one-quarter short to very short.

Seventy-four percent of the corn crop reached the dough stage or beyond, with 14 percent dented or beyond, five days behind the 5-year average. Corn condition rated 82 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans blooming or beyond reached 95 percent (99 percent in west central Iowa), eight days behind the previous year. Eighty-four percent of soybeans were setting pods, with a few reports of soybeans starting to turn color. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent. Ninety-seven percent of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, one day ahead of last year but two days behind the average.

After spending three weeks lagging behind last year, the second cutting of alfalfa hay was equal to last year with 95 percent complete. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 45 percent complete, three days behind average. Hay condition rated 66 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition dropped six percentage points to 67 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal.

 Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship: Warm and humid conditions prevailed for most of the past week although Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 11-12, brought cooler weather to much of Iowa.

Temperature extremes varied from a Wednesday morning low of 50 degrees at Elkader to a Saturday afternoon (Aug. 15) high of 92 degrees at Bellevue. Temperatures for the week as a whole varied from just below normal over far southeast Iowa to about three degrees above normal across northern sections of the state. The statewide average temperature was 1.5 degrees above normal.

Most of the reporting week’s precipitation came on Sunday evening and night, Aug. 9, and primarily fell across the northwest two-thirds of the state. There were also some localized showers over east central Iowa on Monday afternoon, Aug. 10, as well as some light rain over portions of the northeast and southeast corners of the state on Friday, Aug. 14. Rain totals varied from none at scattered locations across southern and eastern Iowa including Lamoni, Fairfield, Iowa City, Cresco and Fayette to a 2.72 inch total at Spirit Lake.

The statewide average precipitation was 0.28 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches. This was Iowa’s driest reporting week in 15 weeks (week ending May 3). However, heavy rains fell over portions of the northwest one-third of Iowa Sunday evening into Monday morning (Aug. 16-17), but largely fell too late to be reflected in this week’s statistics.

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