Farmers get needed rain, but some damaging weather, too

USDA, NASSTimely rains this week were beneficial to crops. Statewide there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 17, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. However, there were isolated reports of damage to crops and buildings caused by high winds and hail. Activities for the week included cutting hay and applying fungicide to corn.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent very short, 22 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Levels in WC Iowa were 3 percent very short, 21 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Sixty-seven percent of the corn crop had reached the silking stage, five days ahead of last year and a week ahead of average. Across the state there were scattered reports of corn reaching the dough stage. Corn condition improved slightly to 81 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans blooming reached 66 percent and soybean setting pods reached 20 percent. Both of these soybean stages were four days ahead of 2015 and five days ahead of normal. Soybean condition rated 80 percent good to excellent this week.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 79 percent, 10 days ahead of normal. The third cutting of alfalfa hay became more widespread this week.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – The past reporting week began with very warm and humid conditions and widespread rainfall.

Monday, July 11, was the warmest day of the reporting week with daytime high temperatures in the upper 80s to mid-90s. Thunderstorms were widespread from Monday evening through Tuesday morning with heaviest rainfall in the southwest where 1- to 2-inch amounts common.

Thunderstorms were again widespread on Wednesday as a cold front moved across the state. The greatest rainfall on Wednesday was from Des Moines eastward along the I-80 corridor with amounts around an inch.

Mostly dry weather, with much lower temperatures and humidity, prevailed from Thursday through Saturday, July 16. Finally, much higher humidity moved back into Iowa Saturday night and Sunday with the moisture surge bringing rain statewide early Sunday morning, July 17, with 2- to 3-inch rain totals common from the Iowa Great Lakes region eastward to the Mason City and Decorah areas.

Rain totals for the week varied from only 0.10 inches at Rock Rapids to 4.38 inches near Storm Lake and 4.28 inches at Lake Mills. The statewide average precipitation was 1.65 inches, well above the weekly normal of 1.05 inches.

Temperature extremes ranged from a Monday afternoon high of 94 degrees at Des Moines to a Saturday morning low of 49 degrees at Elkader. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.1 degrees below normal.

Finally, each of the rain events this week brought severe weather to the state as well. Monday evening and night, July 11, saw numerous reports of high winds, especially over west central Iowa. Wednesday saw several reports of large hail in northwestern and west central Iowa and numerous high wind reports along and near I-80 in central and east central Iowa. Finally, the most damaging weather of the week came with a derecho which entered the northwest corner of Iowa Sunday at about 1 am and finally exited the state in the Quad Cities area about 5-1/2 hours later.

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