Iowa farmers welcome rain

Much needed rain fell throughout the state of Iowa during the week ending Aug. 20, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying and hauling grain.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide improved to 19 percent very short, 31 percent short, 49 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa remained over 90 percent short to very short. Moisture levels in west central Iowa were rated as 7 percent very short, 25 percent short, 58 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 22 percent very short, 34 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 18 percent very short, 42 percent short, 39 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Seventy-eight percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, one week behind last year. Twenty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, one week behind last year and five days behind the 5-year average. Sixty-one percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Eighty-eight percent of soybeans were setting pods, four days behind last year but equal to average. Soybeans in west central Iowa are ahead of the state average, with 95 percent setting pods. Soybean condition improved slightly to 58 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 73 percent complete, eighht days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average. Pasture condition improved to 19 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 23 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Livestock conditions have been ideal with the cooler temperatures. However, available water supplies in ponds and creeks remains an issue for some producers and supplemental feeding has been required.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – Seasonally mild temperatures prevailed through most of the week while rainfall was more widespread and frequent than in recent weeks.

Rain fell nearly statewide on Sunday night into Monday morning, Aug. 13-14, and also on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was mostly dry while on Friday evening and night a few isolated thunderstorms brought rain to small areas from northwest, through central and into southeast Iowa. A few of these Friday night storms were severe, including a strong tornado near Melvin in Osceola County of far northwest Iowa.

Saturday, Aug. 19, was mostly dry while thunderstorms brought rain to about the southwest one-half of the state late Saturday night into Sunday morning. The heaviest rains fell across far western and northwest Iowa on Wednesday morning.

Weekly rain totals were generally below normal across the east one-third of Iowa and above normal over much of the remainder of the state. Little Sioux in Harrison County reported the most rain during the week with 7.21 inches while Farmington in Van Buren County picked up only 0.04 inches.

The statewide average rainfall was 1.35 inches while normal for the week is 0.97 inches.
The coolest weather in most areas came on Sunday, Aug. 13, when highs were mostly in the 70s statewide. The remainder of the week was mostly cooler than normal over the north and slightly above normal over the far south.

Temperature extremes ranged from afternoon highs of 92 degrees at Donnellson on Tuesday and at Osceola on Saturday to a Saturday morning low of 49 degrees at Cresco. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged two to three degrees below normal across northeast Iowa to about one degree above normal over the far south.

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