Wettest week in Iowa since August 2015

Statewide, Iowa farmers had only 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 21, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Those few days came early in the week as rain throughout the rest of the week made conditions too wet for planters to enter the fields.

 Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 65 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were a little better, with 69 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 28 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 71 percent adequate and 29 percent surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has been planted, three days behind last year but two days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn emerged reached 59 percent, for days behind last year. The first corn condition rating of the season was 1 percent very poor, 2 percent poor, 22 percent fair, 63 percent good and 12 percent excellent.

Soybean planting reached 62 percent complete, two days behind last year but one day ahead of average. Fifteen percent of soybeans have emerged, one day behind average.

West central Iowa farmers are a few days behind the state average on both corn and beans, with 89 percent of the corn planted and 64 percent emerged, and 57 percent of the soybeans planted and 13 percent emerged.

The first cutting of alfalfa hay advanced to 8 percent complete (6 percent in west central Iowa). Hay conditions decreased slightly to 82 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition remained at 82 percent good to excellent. The week’s rain resulted in muddy feedlots again, stressing some cattle.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – The reporting week began with dry and very warm weather on Sunday, May 14, with afternoon highs in the 80s statewide.

However, the remainder of the week brought frequent rain and several episodes of severe weather. Monday and Monday night brought thunderstorms to about the north one-third of the state. Rainfall amounts with these storms were mostly under one-half inch. However, severe weather in the form of hail and high winds were reported from 20 counties Monday evening into early Tuesday morning.

Monday was very warm and humid with temperatures reaching 94 degrees at Shenandoah. Temperatures again climbed into the 80s statewide on Tuesday, May 16, with thunderstorms erupting over about the northwest one-half of Iowa on Tuesday evening and night. Rainfall amounts of one to two inches were common with these Tuesday storms with high winds and large hail reported from 24 counties centered from west central across to north central Iowa.

Wednesday was the most active weather day of the week with thunderstorms statewide. Severe weather, mostly high winds, were reported from 55 counties Wednesday evening, mostly across the east two-thirds of the state.

Much cooler weather prevailed for the second one-half of the week. Thursday, May 18, was dry during the daylight hours with high temperatures in the mid-50s northwest to mid-70s southeast. However, showers and thunderstorms brought statewide rain from Thursday night through Saturday, May 20. Daytime highs were only in the 50s and 50s on Friday. Sunday, May 21, was mostly dry with highs in the upper 40s northeast to mid-60s southwest.

Weekly rain totals varied from 0.76 inches near New London in Henry County to 5.78 inches near Mondamin in Harrison County. The statewide average precipitation was 2.56 inches, or nearly two and one-half times the weekly normal of 1.05 inches. This was the highest weekly average in the state since the third week of August in 2015.

Very warm weather early in the week was basically cancelled out with much colder weather during the second one-half of the week with a statewide average temperature of 0.2 degrees above normal. The week’s lowest temperatures were 36 degree readings at Sibley, Sioux Center and Sheldon on Sunday morning, May 21.


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