Crops struggle with continued dry weather

Most of Greene County in moderate drought

All of Iowa experienced cooler than normal temperatures with very little precipitation scattered across the state during the week ending August 13, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fungicides and insecticides, hauling grain, and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide fell to 30 percent very short, 33 percent short, and 37 percent adequate Ratings in west central Iowa were slightly lower, with 33 percent very short, 37 percent short, and 30 percent adequate.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 25 percent very short, 33 percent short, and 42 percent adequate. That is the highest percentage of very short subsoil moisture supplies since the first week of November 2013. Ratings in west central Iowa were 20 percent very short, 45 percent short, and 35 percent adequate.

According to the Aug. 8 U.S. drought monitor, Iowa’s region of drought expanded to 40 percent of the state including portions of 23 counties in severe drought. In Greene County, the southern townships are abnormally dry while the remainder of the county is in moderate drought.

Sixty-two percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, six days behind last year. Eight percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, one week behind average. Corn condition declined to 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 52 percent good and 9 percent excellent.

Soybeans blooming reached 94 percent, five days behind last year and four days behind average. Eighty-two percent of soybeans were setting pods, three days behind last year but two days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 4 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 49 percent good and 7 percent excellent. Ninety-five percent of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, equal to average.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 65 percent complete, eight days ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of average. Pasture condition was reported as 45 percent poor to very poor, the highest percentage reported in those categories since the beginning of April 2014. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions, but supplemental feeding has been required and ponds are drying up in some areas.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – It was a cool and mostly dry week across Iowa.

Temperatures were below normal throughout the week excepting portions of southern Iowa on Thursday, Aug. 10, when Donnellson reached 93 degrees. Lowest temperatures were reported on Tuesday morning, Aug. 8, when readings fell as low as 45 degrees at Chariton and Grinnell.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 4.6 degrees below normal.

There were no widespread rain events during the week. Showers and thunderstorms brought light to moderate rain to far northwest/northern Iowa (roughly north of a Sioux City to Charles City line) on Wednesday with a maximum reported rain amount of 1.04 inches just northwest of Spencer. Thunderstorms were also scattered across the southeast one-half of Iowa on Thursday with a maximum reported rain amount of 1.30 inches just west of Seymour in Wayne County. There were just a few very isolated showers on Sunday night, Aug. 6, Monday, and Sunday morning, Aug. 13.

Tuesday, Friday and Saturday were dry statewide. Much of the southeast two-thirds of the state recorded no rain during the week.

The statewide average rainfall amount was only 0.19 inches while normal for the week is 0.97 inches. A large area of rain fell Monday morning, Aug. 14, across portions of north central and central Iowa but occurred too late to be reflected in this week’s crop condition and soil moisture statistics.

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