Wettest week in a year, and cold, too

USDA, NASSAbove normal precipitation in western Iowa drove the state average down to 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork, while drier conditions allowed farmers more than five days suitable in east central and southeastern Iowa for the week ending Aug. 23, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included cutting hay, harvesting oats, and fungicide and insecticide applications.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 9 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 8 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were 2 percent sort, 89 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Heavy rains in northwest Iowa elevated subsoil moisture levels up 10 percentage points to 89 percent adequate to surplus this week.

Eighty-nine percent of the corn crop reached the dough stage or beyond, with 34 percent dented or beyond (43 percent in west central Iowa), four days behind the 5-year average. Scattered reports of corn reaching maturity were received this week. Corn condition rated 82 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans blooming neared completion this week, while 90 percent of soybeans were setting pods (97 percent in west central Iowa), with a few reports of soybeans starting to turn color. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent. Oats harvested for grain or seed was nearing completion.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 97 percent complete, while the third cutting of alfalfa hay was 57 percent complete, four days behind average. Hay condition rated 66 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition rated 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:  Iowa experienced its coolest week since the last week of May and the wettest week since June 2014.

Rain fell over the northwest one-half of Iowa from late Sunday afternoon into Monday afternoon, Aug. 16-17, with torrential rain falling over a wide area from eastern Plymouth County to southwest Kossuth and northwest Humboldt counties. Additional rain fell statewide between Monday afternoon and Tuesday night with a broad area of one to two inch amounts over the northwest two-thirds of Iowa. Some light rain fell over much of the state on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Dry weather prevailed on Thursday, Friday and into Saturday before another round of thunderstorms developed in western Iowa Saturday afternoon and brought rain to all but the far northwest portion of the state.

Overall weekly rain totals varied from only 0.21 inches at Fort Madison to 9.12 inches at Cherokee and 8.16 inches at Remsen. The statewide average precipitation was 2.59 inches while normal for the week is 0.93 inches. Despite the recent widespread heavy rains there are a few areas in the state that have been missed, particularly the northeast corner, and could use some rain.

Meanwhile, temperatures began the reporting week above normal over all but northwest Iowa on Monday, Aug. 17, with the temperature reaching 91 degrees at Donnellson. However, much cooler air moved into northwest Iowa on Monday and across all but far eastern Iowa on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 19-20, were the coolest days with daytime highs of only 61 degrees recorded at both Northwood and Anamosa on Wednesday while Thursday morning lows dipped to 44 degrees at Sheldon, Sibley and Sioux Center. A few areas warmed slightly above normal on Saturday, Aug. 22, before much cooler air again moved into the state on Sunday, Aug. 23, when Northwood saw an afternoon high of only 66 degrees. The week as a whole averaged 4.7 degrees cooler than normal.

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