Iowa farmers still a few weeks away from spring fieldwork

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on Monday commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

“Another week of cold, wet weather prevented nearly all fieldwork and continued to challenge cow-calf producers. Just 4 percent of the oat crop has been planted, more than week behind last year and the five-year average. The weather forecast for the next couple of weeks looks mixed, so we are still likely a few weeks out from widespread spring fieldwork,” Naig said.

Crop report – Another cold, wet week prevented fieldwork across most of Iowa with just 0.8 day suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 8, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Isolated reports of grain transport and fertilizer application were received.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 2 percent very short, 7 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa ere 8 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. South central and southeast Iowa moisture conditions continue to be dry with more than one-third of topsoil considered short to very short and more than one-half of subsoil short to very short.

Four percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 8 days behind both last year and the 5-year average.

Livestock conditions continue to be mixed. Cold temperatures and snows have hampered early spring pasture growth and continue to present challenges for calving throughout much of the state.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Michael Timlin, regional climatologist, Midwestern regional climate center – Temperatures were well below normal across Iowa for the past week. Temperatures averaged 16 to 19 degrees below normal across the state. Minimum temperatures remained below freezing all week.

The warmest temperatures were on Thursday, April 5, when temperatures rose into the 60s in southwest and south central Iowa. Lamoni, Clarinda, and Shenandoah all reached 62 degrees that day.

The coldest reading, minus 3 degrees, was at Waukon on the April  7. The cold temperatures kept soil temperatures down, with readings remaining in the low to mid 30s as of the Sunday.

Precipitation was also well below normal for much of the state. The southern two-thirds of the state had deficits greater than 0.40 inches for the 7-day period. Only northwestern Iowa had near-normal precipitation for the week. The totals were less than 50 percent of normal for much of the state, and less than 10 percent of normal in parts of west central and central Iowa.

The highest precipitation total was 0.74 inches in Pocahontas and the lowest total was 0.00 inches at a handful of stations. Snow fell across the southern edge of the state on April 2 and across the northern third of the state later in the week. The highest snow totals were just more than 10 inches at a couple of Mason City stations.

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