Wet weather puts planting behind normal year

Rain slowed planting progress early in the week ending April 23, but drier and warmer weather over the weekend allowed producers to plant corn and oats according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 2.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Other fieldwork activities included fertilizer and anhydrous applications, tillage, and burning down cover crops.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 86 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were 2 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus.

Eight percent of the corn acreage has been planted (10 percent in west central Iowa), nine days behind last year and three days behind the 5-year average. Sixty-nine percent of the state’s oat crop has been planted, over one week behind last year but just one day behind average. Oats emerged reached 26 percent. South central Iowa is the only area with less than half the oat crop planted.  

Pasture condition improved to 74 percent good to excellent with pastures described as green and growing. Livestock conditions remain good and feedlots are improving.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – The past week was the driest week in the past five weeks with rain confined to only Tuesday and Wednesday, April 18-19.

The heaviest rains, averaging between one inch and an inch and 1-1/2 inches fell in a band from west central into north central and northeast Iowa. Meanwhile, less than a tenth of an inch of rain fell over east central Iowa.

Weekly rain totals varied from none or just sprinkles at locations such as Newton, Toledo, Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Iowa City to 1.97 inches north of Woodbine in Harrison County.

The statewide average precipitation was 0.65 inches while normal for the week is 0.88 inches.

Thunderstorms Wednesday evening with the passage of a strong cold front brought scattered reports of severe weather, mostly high winds, in seven counties from west central into northeast Iowa.

Temperatures were well above normal into Wednesday with highs in the mid-60s to mid-70s on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was the warmest day across southern Iowa where high temperatures reached into the low 80s. However, much colder air moved into northwest Iowa where temperatures never made it out of the 40s. Friday, April 21, was the coldest day in most areas with morning lows in the 30s and afternoon highs mostly in the 50s.

Cool nights and warm days prevailed over the weekend with highs mostly in the 60s on Saturday and 70s on Sunday. Light freezes were scattered across Iowa on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings with lowest temperatures of 29 degrees recorded at Cresco on Saturday and Grinnell on Sunday. Lamoni recorded the highest temperature of the week with an 84 degree reading on Wednesday.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.5 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures as of Sunday, April 23, were averaging near 50 degrees over extreme northwest Iowa to the mid to upper 50s elsewhere.


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