Hot, dry weather sinking moisture levels

USDA, NASSVery warm conditions and spotty rains prevailed across much of Iowa during the week ending June 19, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

High temperatures and lack of precipitation, especially across the lower two-thirds of the state is stressing some crops, causing corn leaves to curl. Statewide there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included cutting hay, chemical applications, cultivation, and nitrogen side dressing.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 5 percent very short, 19 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 5 percent very short, 27 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 2 percent very short, 12 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Districts in the northern third of Iowa had the highest topsoil moisture levels with more than 90 percent rated adequate to surplus, while south central and southeast Iowa reported topsoil moisture levels over 50 percent short to very short. Levels in WC Iowa were 1 percent very short, 9 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. This is the first reporting week this growing season that topsoil moisture has been rated “very short” in WC Iowa.

More than three-quarters of Iowa’s corn crop continues to be rated in good to excellent condition. Soybean emergence reached 97 percent, 11 days ahead of both last year and the five-year average. Soybean condition rated 80 percent good to excellent.

The first cutting of alfalfa hay reached 96 percent complete this week, more than two weeks ahead of the average. The second cutting of alfalfa reached 6 percent. Hay conditions rated 78 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition fell to 72 percent good to excellent.  

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship: It was a hot week across Iowa with temperatures averaging 6.2 degrees above normal.  

The hottest weather came during the first one-half of the reporting week but temperatures stayed above normal everywhere and on every day for the remainder of the week. Temperatures across western/southwest Iowa averaged 8 to 10 degrees above normal with Little Sioux recording highs of 98 degrees or higher on four days. Eastern/northeastern sections were ‘only’ 4 to 6 degrees hotter than normal. 

Rainfall was infrequent but locally heavy. Thunderstorms were widely scattered across the northern two-thirds of the state on Monday, June 13, with the bulk of the week’s rain falling on Tuesday when thunderstorms rumbled across all but far southwest and south central Iowa. Damaging winds were reported from 15 counties, mostly across the north, on Tuesday afternoon and evening with gusts to 73 mph measured at the Estherville airport.  

Thunderstorms also occurred across far northwest Iowa and along the Nebraska border on Friday night into Saturday morning June 17-18. These weekend storms brought widespread high winds to northwestern Iowa with 69 mph gusts at the Sioux City airport and 68 mph at the Le Mars airport.  

Weekly rain totals varied from none over much of southwest and south central Iowa to 5.46 inches near Nora Springs in Floyd County. 

Parts of far southern Iowa, such as Red Oak, Shenandoah, Clarinda, Creston, Bedford, Mount Ayr, Bloomfield and Keosauqua last had measurable rain (0.01 inch or more) on June 3. 

The statewide average rainfall was 1.04 inches while normal for the week is 1.18 inches.


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