Dry weather moves along planting, crop emergence

It was a dry week across much of Iowa for the week ending May 14, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork, up more than a day from the previous week. This allowed farmers to plant one-third of the state’s expected corn acreage and just under one-third of the state’s expected soybean acreage. The dry and warm weather also aided crop emergence.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture in west central Iowa rated 88 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Similar to last week, the southwest and south central districts reported the largest percentages of surplus subsoil moisture.

Eighty-five percent of the corn crop has been planted, two days behind last year, but four days ahead of the 5-year average for the first time this year. Farmers in the central and north central districts have more than 90 percent of their corn planted.

Twenty-eight percent of corn has emerged, six days behind last year, and three days behind average. Forty percent of the soybean acreage has been planted, one day behind last year, but two days ahead of average.

Hay condition rated 84 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition rated 82 percent good to excellent with most livestock reported as being out in pastures. Livestock conditions were reported as good.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – It was a warm week across Iowa with temperatures for the week ranging from two to three degrees above normal over parts of northeast Iowa to around seven degrees above normal over the far southwest with a statewide average of 4.7 degrees warmer than usual.

Temperatures reached into the low 90s over far western Iowa on Monday, May 8, with a highest reading of 94 degrees at Little Sioux while the most widespread warm weather arrived on Saturday and Sunday, May 13-14, with highs in the 80s nearly statewide on both days.

On the other extreme Spencer reported a low of 35 degrees on Friday morning, May 12. Meanwhile the reporting week began with dry weather on Sunday, May 7. Showers and thunderstorms were scattered over the southwest one-half of Iowa on Monday morning with locally heavy rain of an inch or two from near Denison southeast to Creston. Additional storms developed Monday afternoon and night across the northeast one-third of the state although only a few localized areas picked up more than one-third of an inch of rain with these storms.

Tuesday was mostly dry with light rain coming late in the day over the far north. The bulk of the week’s rain came on Wednesday with rain falling over all but far northwest Iowa. Greatest rain amounts with these mid-week storms fell across the southeast one-third of Iowa, where reports of two-thirds to one and one-half inches were common.

The remainder of the week was dry. No measurable rain fell during the week in far northwest Iowa at Rock Rapids and Rock Valley while a maximum reported amount of 3.49 inches fell just east of Anita in Cass County.

The statewide average precipitation was 0.89 inches or just a little under the weekly normal of 1.02 inches.

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