Crops in fair condition, weather a mixed bag

Iowa experienced scattered tornadoes, hail, and isolated precipitation but reporters expressed need for more rain across much of the state during the week ending July 2, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included herbicide application, cultivating, and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 6 percent very short, 21 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent very short, 31 percent short, 63 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Southeast Iowa’s topsoil moisture levels fell for the sixth consecutive week with 82 percent now rated short to very short. Most of southeast Iowa was categorized as abnormally dry by the United States Drought Monitor released June 27, 2017.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 2 percent very short, 16 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Seventy-eight percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition. Soybean emergence is nearly complete. Soybean blooming reached 12 percent complete, three days behind last year and two days behind average. Soybean condition rated 72 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 27 percent complete, five days behind last year and two days behind average. Hay condition rated 78 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition continues to decline with 63 percent good to excellent. Livestock were generally reported to be in good condition due to favorable temperatures, while operators in a few areas may need to start supplementing feed in pastures.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – The past reporting week began with unseasonably cool weather prevailing through Tuesday, June 27. Daytime highs were mostly in the 70s with nighttime lows in the 40s and 50s during this first one-half of the week. Grinnell and Battle Creek reported the week’s lowest temperatures with 40 degree readings on Tuesday morning.

Light rain was scattered across the southwest one-half of Iowa on Sunday night into Monday, June 25-26, while Tuesday was dry. Very warm and humid weather made a brief return on Wednesday with Sioux City and Little Sioux reaching 90 degrees. Rain fell statewide on Wednesday with greatest amounts concentrated in the northeast and southwest corners of the state. Slightly cooler than normal weather prevailed for the remainder of the week. Thunderstorms brought rain to most of the northwest one-half to two-thirds of Iowa on Thursday. There were a few isolated showers over the northwest one-half of the state on Friday, June 30. Saturday, July 1, was dry while there were a few isolated showers over the southwest one-third on Sunday morning.

The statewide average temperature for the week was 6.0 degrees below normal. Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.09 inches near New London in far southeast Iowa to 4.70 inches at Fort Atkinson in Winneshiek County. The statewide averages rainfall was 1.22 inches or slightly more than the weekly normal of 1.13 inches. Rain totals were well below normal over much of the southern two-thirds of Iowa for the week with some areas seeing much less than usual rain over the past five to six weeks. Meanwhile severe weather was reported from 19 counties on Wednesday and 20 counties on Thursday. Very large hail was reported over portions of Woodbury, Page and Dallas counties while numerous tornadoes touched down in southwest, south central and east central Iowa with these mid-week storms.


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