Planting has started; soybeans are on schedule

Iowa farmers made the most of the 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending April 29, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Corn and soybeans were planted in addition to soil preparation and fertilizer application.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 4 percent very short, 15 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent very short, 8 percent short 84 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 5 percent very short, 14 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. West central Iowa is faring better, with subsoil moisture levels at 2 percent very short, 8 percent short, 88 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. South central Iowa remains dry with over one-third of subsoil rated very short on moisture.

Iowa farmers planted 17 percent of the expected corn crop during the past week, three days behind last year and four days behind the 5-year average. Northern Iowa remains wet from melting snow which has slowed planting progress, however south central and southeast Iowa farmers already have at least 40 percent of their corn planted.

Soybean planting is underway with 2 percent of the expected crop in the ground, two days ahead of last year but equal to the average.

Sixty-two percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, eight days behind both last year and the 5-year average. Just 10 percent of the crop has emerged, almost two weeks behind last year.

The extended winter season has left hay in short supply for some livestock producers. Pastures in many areas need rain to spur growth.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Michael Timlin, regional climatologist, Midwestern Regional Climate Center – A dry week with only slightly below-normal temperatures allowed many to get into the fields.

Most of the state received no precipitation. Light rains fell April 24 and 25 in the west and southwest, with about a dozen stations reporting totals more than 0.10 inches. The largest precipitation total was in Little Sioux with 0.18 inches, all reported on the morning of April 25. Amounts were well below normal for late April.

Temperatures averaged during the week were near normal or only slightly below normal, on the heels of several cool weeks. Departures from normal were less than a degree from southwestern Iowa into the center of the state while departures of 2 degrees below normal were recorded along the northern border and in the southeastern corner of the state. Maximum temperatures were above normal for much of the state and minimum temperatures were below normal.

Soil temperatures had climbed above 50 degrees everywhere but a couple reporting locations in the northwestern corner of the state on April 29.

Each day during the week, freezing temperatures were reported at some locations. The northeastern and east central areas of the state were in the upper 20s on the morning of April 29. The coldest reading in the state was on that morning in Waukon, 18 degrees. The warmest readings were on the afternoon of April 27 when temperatures rose to 79 degrees in De Soto, Atlantic, Red Oak, and Shenandoah.

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