Corn, beans still ahead of average year

Iowa farmers had 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 29, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, applying chemicals and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 5 percent very short, 20 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent very short, 28 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 6 percent very short, 17 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 2 percent very short, 11 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.

Floodwaters continued to recede in northwest and north central Iowa while subsoil moisture levels rated short to very short remain above 70 percent in south central and southeastern Iowa.

Ninety-six percent of the corn crop has silked, 10 days ahead of last year and two weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Thirty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, five days ahead of last year and six days ahead of average. Corn condition rated 78 percent good to excellent.

Ninety percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 63 percent setting pods, six days ahead of last year and eight days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 93 percent complete, 11 days ahead of average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 13 percent complete, one day ahead of the average. Hay condition rated 68 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions declined to 54 percent rated good to excellent. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions; however, drought conditions in the southern one-third of the state caused some cattle producers to rotate pasture and haul water.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Dr Justin Glisan, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – The last full week of July greeted Iowa with unseasonably cool temperatures and relatively dry conditions.

Daytime highs over most of the state were in the lower 80s, two to three degrees below normal. Overnight lows were cooler as well, dipping into the upper 50s, four to six degrees below normal.

Statewide precipitation totals were between 0.25 to 1.2 inches below normal; only parts of Mills and Fremont counties observed slightly above average precipitation.

A cold front moved through Iowa early on Monday, July 23, bringing measurable rainfall to the state’s western third. Little Sioux (Harrison County) reported 0.52 inches of rain, while other locations in Sioux and Lyon counties observed between 0.25 and 0.33 inches. Tuesday was quiet statewide, with Bellevue (Jackson County) reporting the week’s high of 97 degrees.

Active weather returned on Wednesday, July 25, as another cold front moved through, firing up severe thunderstorms in north central Iowa. There were more than 10 reports of severe straight-line winds and pea to quarter-sized hail; Dows (Wright County) reported large broken tree limbs of up to eight inches. The line weakened and propagated through the eastern third of the state; Mason City (Cerro Gordo County) reported 0.80 inches of rain, while Waterloo (Black Hawk County) observed 0.16 inches.

High pressure dominated Thursday and Friday, July 26-27, bringing fair and cool conditions. Saturday was a wet day for western and southern Iowa, as a system brought measurable rainfall. Rathbun Dam (Appanoose County) recorded 0.98 inches of rain, the week’s highest accumulation; 16 stations had accumulations of at least 0.50 inches.

Thundershowers lingered into Sunday morning, July 29, with isolated storms popping up in the afternoon. Weekend average highs were well below normal, especially in the southwest. Mount Ayr (Ringgold County) recorded a high of 66 degrees, 19 degrees below normal.

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