Moisture levels improving in western Iowa

Iowa experienced below normal temperatures and received adequate rain throughout the western half of the state during the week ending August 27, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying, hauling grain, chopping corn, and harvest equipment preparation.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide improved to 13 percent very short, 26 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were rated at 2 percent very short, 10 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in south central Iowa were reported at 85 percent short to very short. This is the first time in 5 weeks that topsoil moisture has been less than 90 percent short to very short in that district.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 18 percent very short, 31 percent short, 50 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 11 percent very short, 35 percent short, 53 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, eight days behind last year, but two days ahead of the five-year average. Forty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, eight days behind last year and four days behind average. Sixty percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition.

Ninety-four percent of soybeans were setting pods, two days behind last year but one day ahead of average. Six percent of soybeans started to turn color, three days behind average. Soybean condition improved slightly to 60 percent good to excellent. Similar pests and weeds as last year were reported for soybeans, with limited reports of disease pressure such as sudden death syndrome or mold issues.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 82 percent complete, six days ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of average. Pasture condition rated 17 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 22 percent good and 3 percent excellent.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – It was an unseasonably cool and wet week across most of Iowa.

The reporting week began with temperatures slightly above normal on Sunday and Monday, Aug. 20-21. However, below normal temperatures prevailed for the remainder of the week across most of the state. Tuesday and Wednesday were the coolest days when afternoon highs were only in the 70s.

Temperature extremes for the week ranged from a Sunday afternoon high of 89 degrees at Boone to a Wednesday morning low of 44 degrees at Stanley in Buchanan County. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.6 degrees below normal.

Light rain was scattered across central and eastern Iowa on Sunday morning. Rain fell statewide on Monday, interfering with viewing of the solar eclipse but providing very welcome moisture in drought areas. Heaviest rains fell across the western one-third of Iowa where flash flooding occurred in some areas early on Monday.

Tuesday and most of Wednesday were dry. Rain, mostly light, fell over parts of northwest and central Iowa on Thursday morning. Rain fell across much of the northwestern two-thirds of Iowa on Thursday night. Locally heavy rain fell over far northwestern Iowa on Friday night. Finally, light rain was scattered over the northeast one-third of the state on Saturday, Aug. 26, into Sunday morning.

Rain totals for the week varied from only 0.05 inches at Guttenberg to 7.37 inches at Denison. The statewide average rainfall amount was 1.78 inches, or about double the weekly normal of 0.91 inches.

This was the highest statewide average rain total in 12 weeks (mid-May). However, rain totals were below normal for the past week across most of northeast and east central Iowa. This portion of the state, which had been rather wet in the early and mid-summer, has turned quite dry over the past month.

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