Drier weather speeds planting, corn only a little behind average

Drier conditions as the week progressed allowed farmers to plant corn and soybeans during the week ending May 7, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 3.4 days suitable for fieldwork. However, below normal temperatures have slowed the emergence of crops.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 82 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa raged 86 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus. The southwest and south central districts reported 25 percent or more surplus subsoil moisture.

Almost one-quarter of the state’s expected corn acreage was planted during the week ending May 7. Fifty-two percent of the corn crop has been planted, remaining over a week behind last year, and slightly behind the 5-year average. Northeast Iowa has the smallest percentage of corn planted at 35 percent, while central Iowa has the most planted at 65 percent. Sixty percent of the corn in west central Iowa is planted.

Seven percent of the corn has emerged, six days behind last year, and four days behind average.

Nine percent of the soybean acreage has been planted, six days behind last year and two days behind average.

The first hay condition of the season rating was 1 percent poor, 17 percent fair, 67 percent good and 15 percent excellent. Pasture condition rated 79 percent good to excellent, an increase of 3 percentage points from the previous week. Livestock conditions were reported as normal, and feedlot conditions improved from the previous week.

 Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – The past reporting week began with statewide rainfall on Sunday, April 30, with lighter precipitation continuing into Monday. May 1. The rain turned to snow in far northwest Iowa Sunday night and Monday morning where a brief two inch accumulation was reported at Lester (Lyon County).

A very welcome drier period prevailed for the remainder of the week with the exception of some scattered thunderstorms over the northwest one-quarter of the state on Wednesday and some very light rain in the Dubuque and Clinton areas on Friday night.

Weekly precipitation totals varied from 0.34 inches at Park View (Scott County) to 1.95 inches at Remsen (Plymouth County). The statewide average precipitation was 0.99 inches or nearly the same as the weekly normal of 0.98 inches.

Daytime high temperatures were only in the 40s statewide on Sunday and finally climbed above normal in western Iowa on Friday and almost to normal over far eastern Iowa by Sunday, May 7. A freeze was recorded over parts of northeastern Iowa on Wednesday morning, May 3, with a lowest reported temperature of 28 degrees near Elkader. A light freeze was also reported over low-lying areas of central and eastern Iowa on Thursday morning with a lowest reported temperature of 29 degrees near Chariton.

On the other extreme, temperatures climbed into the 80s over about the west one-third of the state on Sunday afternoon, May 7, with a maximum of 85 degrees at Little Sioux.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from one to two degrees below normal over the far west to about six degrees subnormal over the east with a statewide average of 3.6 degrees below normal.

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