Iowa farmers had 4.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Aug. 26, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included cutting hay, chopping corn silage, harvesting oats for grain, spraying for aphids, and moving grain.
Topsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 7 percent very short, 14 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 9 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 4 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus.
Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 8 percent very short, 16 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent very sort, 5 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 14 percent surplus. In spite of recent rains, subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa continue to remain critically low with greater than 90 percent rated short to very short.
Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, eight days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn dented was at 63 percent, nine days ahead of last year. Seven percent of the corn crop was mature, nine days ahead of average. Seed corn harvest has begun. Corn condition rated 73 percent good to excellent.
Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop was setting pods with 11 percent coloring, four days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 70 percent good to excellent.
The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 75 percent complete, four days behind the previous year but one week ahead of the average. Pasture conditions improved slightly to 43 percent good to excellent. Although pastures in south central and southwest Iowa were able to refresh after receiving much needed precipitation, some producers have been forced to haul water to livestock.
Iowa preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Cooler conditions were observed statewide during the reporting period with average temperatures up to five degrees below normal in some locations. Much of Iowa also saw above average rainfall accumulations, generally ranging from one to three inches.
A large low pressure system continued to spin over the state on Monday, Aug. 20, bringing heavy rainfall to northern and western Iowa. More than 50 stations reported precipitation totals above one inch; Fort Dodge (Webster County) recorded 3.95 inches. A weak tornado was also reported during the evening in Clinton County, damaging crops and trees.
High pressure dominated on Tuesday, bringing cooler conditions to Iowa. Average highs were well below normal, especially in western Iowa; Denison (Crawford County) observed a high of 65 degrees, almost 18 degrees below average. Cool and dry conditions continued into Wednesday and over much of the state on Thursday, Aug 22-23, as the high pressure propagated across northern Missouri.
Showers and thunderstorms moved into southwest Iowa Thursday morning, bringing measurable rainfall. Another complex of thunderstorms developed along the Iowa-Missouri border early Friday, bringing much needed rain to southeastern Iowa. Multiple stations in Appanoose, Davis, and Wapello counties observed rainfall between one and two inches, with isolated totals nearing three inches. Severe storms also formed and moved rapidly through northern Iowa, with a few severe hail and high wind reports from Buffalo Center (Kossuth County) to Mason City (Cerro Gordo County).
Leftover thundershowers moved out of eastern Iowa early Saturday Aug. 24, leaving minor accumulations. On Sunday another round of thunderstorms fired along a warm front, with two severe wind reports that evening in north central Iowa.
Weekend temperatures were up to four degrees warmer across much of Iowa, with Donnellson (Lee County) observing the week’s high temperature of 95 degrees.