Soil temp still in the 30s as farmers prepare for season

A cold, wet week prevented fieldwork across most of Iowa during the week ending April 1, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there was just 0.4 day suitable for fieldwork.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 3 percent very short, 9 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 15 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 5 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa reported the highest surplus subsoil moisture level at 22 percent while parts of south central and southeast Iowa remain in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions according to the March 27 U.S. Drought Monitor. Levels in west central Iowa were 9 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.

Two percent of oats have been planted, four days behind last year’s progress at this time and three days behind the 5-year average.
Livestock conditions varied across the State. Heavy snow and muddy lots have both presented challenges for calving in many areas.

Preliminary weather summary  by Michael Timlin, regional climatologist, Midwestern Regional Climate Center – The past week was cool across Iowa and drier than normal for the northern half of the state.

Precipitation totals were near normal in the south, and drier than normal to the north. Most of northwestern Iowa had less than 0.25 inches for the week, less than 50 percent of normal. Light rains were reported early in the week and again with the morning observations on March 31.

On Sunday, snow began in southwestern Iowa and spread along the Iowa-Missouri border through the day. Primghar, in O’Brien County, recorded no precipitation for the week and many stations in neighboring counties reported just a trace or a few hundredths of an inch.
The two wettest stations were in Page County in southwestern Iowa, College Springs with 1.88 inches and Clarinda with 1.75 inches.

Weekly average temperatures ranged from 6 to 10 degrees below normal across the state with daily maximum temperatures particularly below normal. The warmest readings in the state came from Sioux City on March 28, reaching 64 degrees. Temperatures also climbed above 60 degrees in the southeastern tip of the state on April 1.

Coolest readings in the state were recorded in the northern portion of Iowa mid-week with temperatures dropping to the mid-teens. Cresco, in northeastern Iowa, fell to 13 degrees on March 29. The entire state had minimum temperatures in the teens or low 20s on April 1.

Soil temperatures on April 1 were reported in the 30s across the state with readings near freezing in some northern locations.

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