Dry weather lets planting progress

USDA, NASSIowa farmers had ample opportunities for fieldwork with 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending April 17, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. In addition to oat planting, corn planting began in earnest in most areas with scattered reports of soybean planting. Other field activities included tillage as well as anhydrous and fertilizer applications.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 10 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 1 percent very short, 11 percent short, 85 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 3 percent short, 91 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 5 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.

Thirteen percent of the state’s expected corn acreage has been planted, over one week ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. In west central Iowa, 15 percent of the corn crop was planted as of Sunday after 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork.

Pasture condition rated 2 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 48 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Pastures have started to green. Livestock conditions were described as good, with the dry weather beneficial for calving. Some cows and calves have been turned out to pastures.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – It was a very dry week across Iowa. The only precipitation was a few sprinkles reported across far northern Iowa on Tuesday night, April 12. Very light rain did finally move into far western Iowa late Sunday night, April 17, but it occurred too late to be reflected in this week’s statistics. Typical weekly precipitation for this part of April is 0.82 inches.

Meanwhile, the reporting week began with unseasonably cold weather on Monday and Tuesday. A hard freeze occurred over most of Iowa on Tuesday morning with temperatures falling as low as 16 degrees at Sheldon, Spencer, and Webster City. However, with only a few exceptions, Tuesday morning temperatures were not as cold as were reported with the freeze on Saturday, April 9.

A rapid warm-up commenced across western Iowa on Wednesday, April 13, with temperatures above normal statewide by Thursday. Temperatures were well above normal everywhere during the weekend. Daytime highs reached 80 degrees at Little Sioux and Sioux City on Wednesday while sunny skies allowed readings to climb even higher across eastern Iowa over the weekend, when Davenport reached 84 degrees on both Saturday and Sunday.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from two degrees above normal over far southeast Iowa to nine degrees above normal over the far northwest with a statewide average of 5.6 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth were averaging in the mid to upper 50s statewide as of Sunday, April 17.

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