Topsoil, subsoil moisture in good supply as growing season starts

USDA, NASS

Cool temperatures and rain hampered field work during the week ending April 3, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork. However the northern one-third of Iowa, as well as the southeast corner, had less than two days suitable for fieldwork. Producers continued to apply dry fertilizer, manure, and anhydrous when able.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were 85 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa reported the highest surplus subsoil moisture level at 26 percent, with standing water in some low areas. In west central Iowa subsoil moisture levels were 83 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

Thirteen percent of oats have been planted, equal to last year’s progress, but three days behind the 5-year average.

Pasture condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 49 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Pastures were starting to green but reporters haven’t seen much growth yet. Livestock conditions were described as normal for the week. Calving and lambing activities were on-going.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship: Iowa experienced a fairly typical early spring week with widely fluctuating temperatures, frequent windy conditions and occasional showers and thunderstorms.

The reporting week began with temperatures in the 20s and low 30s on Monday morning, March 28, with lowest readings down to 20 degrees at Audubon, Chariton and Grinnell. Tuesday was warmer with showers and thunderstorms moving into northwest Iowa during the afternoon.

Rain and cloud cover kept northern Iowa cool and damp on Wednesday while temperatures climbed into the 70s over the south where thunderstorm activity was more scattered. Some large hail was reported from a few areas of west central and central Iowa on Wednesday evening as colder air moved into the area. Thursday, March 31, was seasonably cool with light to moderate rain statewide. Mostly cloudy skies, with some light rain, kept highs only in the 40s over most Iowa on Friday, April 1. Saturday was sunny, cold and very windy. High temperatures Saturday were only in the upper 30s over northern areas while winds gusted to over 50 mph across the state with a top wind gust of 60 mph recorded at the Ottumwa Airport.

Sunday, April 3, began cold with temperatures as low as 21 degrees at Britt. However, strong southerly winds gusting over 40 mph brought much warmer air into the state during the day on Sunday with temperatures soaring 40 to 50 degrees above the morning lows by the afternoon. Little Sioux reported the state’s highest temperature at 85 degrees with all of Iowa reaching at least the mid-70s. Much colder air began filtering into the state later Sunday with a few isolated thunderstorms during the evening with a wind gust to 70 mph at the Iowa City Airport.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.3 degrees above normal (slightly cooler in the east and warmer in the west). Weekly precipitation totals varied from only 0.02 inches near New Market in Taylor County to 1.66 inches near Badger in Webster County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.68 inches, or just slightly greater than the weekly normal of 0.62 inches. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth were averaging in the low 40s northeast to upper 40s southwest as of Sunday, April 3.

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