Farmers take advantage of drier weather

Iowa farmers finally got the dryer weather they were looking for with 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending June 9, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is the first time this season farmers had more than 5.0 days suitable for field work. This allowed farmers to plant corn and soybeans, cut hay, and spray fields with nitrogen.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. In west central Iowa levels rated 3 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 67 percent adequate and 33 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus.

Ninety-three percent of the expected corn crop has been planted, more than two weeks behind last year and almost 3 weeks behind the 5-year average. Seventy-three percent of the crop has emerged, longer than two weeks behind last year and average. Corn condition rated 58 percent good to excellent.

Nearly one-third of the expected soybean crop was planted this past week. Iowa soybean growers now have 70 percent of the expected crop planted, 17 days behind last year and average. Thirty-five percent of the crop has emerged, longer than two weeks behind last year and average.

Nearly one-third of the state’s first cutting of alfalfa hay was cut this past week. However, at 35 percent complete statewide, the first cutting is behind last year by 10 days and eight days behind average. Hay condition improved to 63 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition rated 66 percent good to excellent, also an improvement. There was little stress on livestock this past week, but feedlots remain muddy.

Iowa preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Iowa finally received a much needed stretch of dryness and warmth as a large-scale circulation shift brought a much less active pattern across the region. Given the remarkable stretch of wetness during spring, the current dry period is a welcome break.

Temperatures were unseasonably warm, generally three to six degrees warmer than average. A majority of the state also experienced rainfall departures between 0.50 to 1.00 inch below average.

Sunday afternoon and evening,  June 2, remained mostly sunny and slightly cooler than average with highs in the low to mid 70s. A fast moving wave of showers and thunderstorms entered western Iowa in the early morning hours of Monday. The system moved through southern Iowa for most of the day until it dissipated Monday evening. Rain totals were highest in southwestern and eastern Iowa with lighter totals in between. Randolph (Fremont County) reported 1.55 inches, while across the state in Dubuque (Dubuque County) 1.67 inches was reported, 1.36 inches above average. The swath of Iowa in between generally saw totals from 0.10 to 0.50 inch.

Tuesday, June 14, was active across northeastern Iowa as showers and thunderstorms moved through from late evening through early Wednesday morning. Highs were in the low to mid 80s, on average four to six degrees above normal, helping fuel the storms. Rain totals were highest in the northeast quadrant with four stations reporting above an inch; Cascade (Dubuque County) reported 1.77 inches. Remaining totals across this region ranged from 0.25 to 0.75 inch with the average total around 0.44 inch.

A line of storms re-fired in east central Iowa on Wednesday afternoon with moderate rainfall. Rain totals varied from 0.20 inch in Newton (Jasper County) to 0.87 inch in Garwin (Tama County). The line dissipated as it moved through southeastern Iowa with a strong thunderstorm popping up in Van Buren County; severe hail was reported in Keosauqua.

The end of the week was less active with warmer than average conditions. Northwestern Iowa reported highs near 90 degrees on Thursday, June 6. Statewide temperatures averaged 86 degrees, eight degrees above average. Overnight lows were above average as well.

Friday, June 7,   was sunny and unseasonably warm with low humidity. High temperatures reached the mid to upper 80s, four to six degrees above average. Overnight lows into Saturday  remained warmer than average, dipping down into the mid 60s. Conditions through the day on Saturday remained pleasant with continued sunny and dry conditions in Iowa. Temperatures were near to above average with high 80s in the north and low to mid 80s across southern Iowa. A weak cold front brought isolated measurable rain to extreme northwest Iowa late Saturday into Sunday morning, with accumulations ranging from 0.02 inch in Sioux City (Woodbury County) to 0.39 inch in Akron (Plymouth County) at 7 am.

Weekly rainfall totals ranged from no measurable accumulations at a handful of stations to 2.17 inches in Fulton (Jackson County). The statewide weekly average rainfall was 0.52 inch, just under half of the expected 1.18 inches.

Temperatures averaged 71.8 degrees, 4.3 degrees above normal. The week’s high temperature of 91 degrees was observed at Hawarden and Sioux Center (Sioux County), as well as Rock Rapids (Lyon County) on the June 6; this reading was on average 13 degrees above normal. Cresco (Howard County) reported the week’s low temperature of 44 degrees on June 3, seven degrees below average.


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