Dry, hot weather helps crop development

A hot and dry week across much of the state allowed Iowa farmers 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 27, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 77 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent very short, 15 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 5 percent very short, 12 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa are better, rated at 1 percent very sort, 11 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. South central Iowa continues to struggle with subsoil moisture supply availability with three-quarters rated short to very short.

Iowa growers have planted 96 percent of the expected corn crop, with 77 percent of the crop emerged. Farmers in the northern one-third of the state were able to plant more than 20 percent of their corn during the previous week, which leaves less than 10 percent still to be planted.

Soybean growers have 81 percent of the expected crop planted, a week ahead of the 5-year average. Forty-four percent of soybeans have emerged, three days ahead of last year.

Hay conditions improved slightly to 65 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions also improved to 60 percent good to excellent. Warm temperatures and improved soil moisture levels strongly supported pasture and hay growth. Extreme temperatures resulted in reports of heat stress in cattle herds.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Michael Timlin, regional climatologist, Midwestern Regional Climate Center – Temperatures were above normal across the state while most of the state saw below average rainfall.

Temperatures warmed through the week with maximum temperatures in the upper 50s and 60s early in the week climbing to the 90s by the end of the week in all but the northeastern corner of the state. Minimum temperatures climbed from the upper 40s and 50s to the 60s later in the week. The coolest temperature recorded during the week was 47 degrees at Sibley on the May 21 while the warmest reading was 101 degrees at Red Oak on May 26. With the rising temperatures, soil temperatures also rose from the upper 50s and 60s into the 70s by the end of the week.

Widespread precipitation May 21 gave way to scattered rain for the rest of the week. Severe weather May 25 included strong winds and large hail. Wind reports over 60 mph and reports of trees and limbs downed along with large hail up to 2.00 inches in diameter came in from central to northeastern Iowa. Above normal precipitation was reported at only some locations in the northeastern third of the state while totals were less than 0.20 inches for many locations in the southwestern half of the state.

Viewed as a percentage of normal, the rainfall ranged from 200 percent of normal to less than 10 percent of normal. The highest rainfall total was recorded at Estherville in Emmet County with 2.67 inches including 2.39 inches on May 23. The driest location was nearby at Primghar in O’Brien County where no precipitation fell during the week.

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