Rainy, cold weather slowing planting

Rain across the state delayed planting activities and held Iowa farmers to 2.8 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending May 5, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Below normal temperatures also slowed crop emergence.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 2 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 29 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 2 percent short, 85 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 2 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 32 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were 1 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus.

Statewide, just 15 percent of the corn crop was planted during the past week. Iowa growers have now planted 36 percent of the expected crop, one day behind last year and five days behind the 5-year average. Northwest and northeast Iowa farmers have less than 20 percent of their corn planted. Just 1 percent of the crop has emerged, almost a week behind average.

Eight percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, two days behind last year and average. Eighty-seven percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, six days ahead of last year but equal to average. Thirty-five percent of the crop has emerged, 2 days ahead of last year but a week behind average.

Iowa preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., state climatologist Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – An active rainfall pattern brought unseasonable wetness across southeastern Iowa over the reporting period with measurable rain reported every day; the highest totals were along the Iowa – Illinois border. The rest of Iowa was near normal to around an inch below average. Statewide average temperatures were also unseasonably cool.
Showers and thunderstorms swept across Iowa late Sunday evening, April 28, and exited Iowa during the morning on Monday. An isolated severe thunderstorm quickly moved from southeast Iowa into central Iowa, leaving behind dime- to quarter-sized hail from Madison to Polk Counties on Sunday evening. Late in the day on Monday into Tuesday, a low pressure system propagated through the state. The low brought a widespread area of moderate rainfall over the southeastern third of Iowa for much of the day. Rain totals through 7 am Wednesday, May 1, exceeded 1 inch at 21 stations with Burlington (Des Moines County) reporting 2.94 inches; three other stations observed totals more than 2 inches. As the low moved out of the state, rain showers formed across northwestern Iowa and remained into the early morning hours of Thursday, May 2. Average high temperatures over this period were in the upper 40s to low 50s, 10-15 degrees below average.

Compared to the beginning of the week, Friday through Sunday, May 3-5 was generally pleasant with spotty areas of rain each day. The weekend began with a light rain moving across portions of west-central Iowa before they dissipated late morning on Saturday. Under sunny to partly cloudy conditions, highs were in the upper 60s to low 70s, with light winds. Rain showers moved through the same regions late Saturday into Sunday, while overnight lows remained in the low to mid 50s. Weekend rainfall totals were highest in the western part of the state with light accumulations into central Iowa; Des Moines (Polk County) reported 0.03 inch while Underwood (Pottawattamie County) observed 0.62 inch.

The statewide average precipitation for the week was above the average of 0.98 inch at 1.15 inches. Temperatures averaged 50.6 degrees, 4.4 degrees below normal. The week’s high temperature of 75 degrees was observed in Atlantic (Cass County) and Little Sioux (Harrison County) on May 4, six degrees warmer than average. Fayette (Fayette County) reported the week’s low temperature of 25 degrees on May 29, 15 degrees below average. Rainfall totals ranged 0.21 inch in Dakota City (Humboldt County) to 4.41 inches in Salem (Henry County); 10 National Weather Service Co-op stations reported totals above four inches.

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