Driest week since mid-February, cooler than normal, too

It was another dry week in Iowa with only localized showers during the week ending Sept. 10, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included cutting hay, chopping corn for silage, seeding cover crops, hauling grain, and preparing for grain harvest.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 17 percent very short, 32 percent short, and 51 percent adequate. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent very short, 24 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. South central and southeast Iowa continue to be the driest parts of the state with more than 80 percent of topsoil moisture rated short to very short.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 19 percent very short, 34 percent short, and 47 percent adequate. Levels in west central Iowa rated 8 percent very short, 36 percent short, 55 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Seventy-six percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond, three days behind the 5-year average. Fifteen percent of corn had reached maturity, six days behind last year and eight days behind average. Corn condition rated 60 percent good to excellent.

Forty-seven percent of soybeans were turning color, one day behind average. Eight percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, four days behind average. Soybean condition rated 61 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 95 percent complete, more than one week ahead of last year. There were some reports of producers starting to cut their fourth crop of alfalfa. Pasture conditions declined to 41 percent poor to very poor due to continued dry conditions slowing growth.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – It was a very dry week across Iowa with mostly below normal temperatures.

Very light rain fell over portions of north central and northeast Iowa on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 4-5, with Britt reporting the most rain with only 0.13 inches. Thunderstorms were scattered over portions of northwest and far western Iowa on Saturday evening into Sunday morning, Sept. 9-10, with a maximum of 0.63 inches of rain reported at Akron. Otherwise no rain fell at all over most of the southern two-thirds of Iowa during the week.

The statewide average rainfall was 0.03 inches while normal for the week is 0.84 inches. This was the driest week since mid-February.

Meanwhile, temperatures were above normal on Sunday and again the next Saturday. In between unseasonably cool weather prevailed for the work week, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday when daytime highs were only in the 60s in most areas.

Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Sunday afternoon high of 88 degrees at Oskaloosa to a Thursday morning low of 35 degrees at Stanley in Buchanan County. The statewide average temperature was 4.0 degrees below normal for the week.

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