Crops ahead of normal but condition is declining

Iowa farmers had 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 5, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, spraying for aphids, and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 12 percent very short, 24 percent short, 61 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture in west central Iowa rated 13 percent very short, 30 percent short, 56 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.Subsoil moisture levels across the state rated 10 percent very short, 21 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were 2 percent very short, 27 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa continued to fall with 48 percent considered very short.

Almost all the corn crop has silked. Fifty-five percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, more than a week ahead of average. Corn dented was at eight percent. Corn condition fell to 75 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 81 percent setting pods, More than a week ahead of both last year and the average. Soybean condition declined slightly to 74 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay has neared completion. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 30 percent complete, three days behind the previous year but four days ahead of the average. Hay condition fell to 61 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions declined to 46 percent rated good to excellent. Regrowth of pastures and hay has been a concern, especially in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Iowa preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Much of Iowa had below average temperatures and precipitation for the reporting period.

Monday and Tuesday, July 30-31, were unsettled, with widely scattered thunderstorms, especially Monday afternoon and evening. Cresco (Howard County) and Greenfield (Adair County) received rainfall of 1.10 inches and 1.04 inches, respectively. On Wednesday, a cold front worked its way from the northwest to southeast, producing severe thunderstorms across central Iowa. There were multiple reports of one-inch diameter hail from Otho (Webster County) to Boone (Boone County). Local rainfall accumulations ranged from 0.61 inches in Ames (Story County) to 0.53 inches in Dubuque County.

Statewide average highs were generally in the lower 80s, between two to five degrees below average north to south.

Another cold front crossed the state on Thursday, Aug. 2, bringing spotty thundershowers to parts of Iowa, though very little in measurable precipitation. On Friday a warm front lifted over the state, bringing warmer temperatures; highs ranged from the mid-70s to low 80s in the north and mid-80s in the southern third.

During the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 4, an organized storm system moved into western Iowa, bringing rainfall to many stations; Sioux Center (Sioux County) reported 2.02 inches, the week’s highest accumulation. Severe weather returned on Sunday as a surface front brought multiple rounds of thunderstorms along Highway 20. There were reports of hail and high winds from Webster City (Hamilton County) to Dubuque (Dubuque County).

Measurable rainfall was reported at many stations across the state’s northern half, with Sheldon (O’Brien County) reporting 2.00 inches, 1.88 inches above normal. Friday through Sunday, temperatures were near normal in the north and above average, by around three degrees, in the south. Lamoni (Decatur County) observed the week’s high temperature of 98 degrees, 13 degrees above normal.

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