West central farmers faring better in soil moisture, crop progress

Wet field conditions and scattered rains limited Iowa farmers to 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 20, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus. Statewide the ratings were 2 percent very short, 5 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 3 percent short, 87 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Those ratings statewide rated 4 percent very short, 10 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus. South central Iowa reported the lowest levels of subsoil moisture with more than two-thirds short to very short.

Iowa growers have planted 86 percent of the expected corn crop, five days behind last year. Producers in the north central district planted nearly half their expected corn crop this past week. Fifty-three percent of the crop has emerged, one day behind last year.

Soybean growers have 58 percent of the expected crop planted (65 percent in west central Iowa), two days ahead of the 5-year average. One-quarter of the expected soybean crop across Iowa was planted this past week. Northwest and north central Iowa remain well behind the other districts with less than one-third of their soybean crop planted. Eighteen percent of soybeans have emerged, two days ahead of last year.

Hay conditions improved to 64 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions also improved, reaching 56 percent good to excellent. Warmer temperatures and rain have promoted good pasture and hay growth. Overall, livestock conditions are good with little stress, but muddy feedlots continue to be an issue.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Michael Timlin, regional climatologist, Midwestern Regional Climate Center – Warm weather across the state was generally paired with drier conditions, though there were some pockets of wetness.

Temperatures climbed into the 80s across the state with average temperatures for the week running 3 to 7 degrees above normal. The warmest areas were along the southern border and the coolest in the northwestern part of the state. Only the first two days and the last day of the week had high temperatures in the 60s at some locations. In the middle of the week highs were mostly in the upper 70s or 80s. The warmest readings were 88 degrees reported in Keokuk on May 15 and De Soto on May 17.

The coolest readings of 45 degrees were reported at a handful of locations in northern Iowa spread across several days. Soil temperatures ranged from the upper 50s to the lower 70s during the week.

Precipitation was generally below normal, and much below normal at many locations. Areas with less than 25 percent of normal stretched across much of the northern third of the state, areas in the southwest and southeast, and some central Iowa locations.
Above normal totals were reported in east central Iowa and some scattered locations across the middle of the state.

The driest locations were in northeastern Iowa, where Decorah and Cresco had no rain at all. The wettest location was Maquoketa in Jackson County, with 3.61 inches, or about twice normal.

The lack of big storms also meant there was little severe weather reported across the state. Reports of large hail (1.00 to 1.75 inches) on the May 14 came from locations in the southeast. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inches) was reported in Linn County and Wayne County that day.

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