Two weeks behind, but finally the crops are planted


Another wet week as showers and thunderstorms moved through the state meant Iowa farmers had limited opportunities for fieldwork during the week ending June 23, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were just 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities included planting, harvesting hay, spraying and applying nitrogen.

Moisture levels reflected the rainfall. Topsoil moisture condition across the state was rated  1 percent short, 68 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa were 3 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 24 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture condition statewide was rated 1 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 37 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 73 percent adequate and 27 percent surplus.

Ninety-six percent of the expected corn crop has emerged, two weeks behind last year and 15 days behind the 5-year average. Corn condition improved to 62 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-five percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, two weeks behind average. Eighty-one percent of the crop has emerged, more than two weeks behind last year and average. Soybean condition rated 63 percent good to excellent, also an improvement from the last report.

Wet conditions slowed progress on the first cutting of alfalfa hay with just 73 percent of the crop harvested statewide, nearly two weeks behind average. Hay condition rated 66 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition continued to improve and rated 69 percent good to excellent. Feedlots were muddy after recent rainfalls.

Iowa preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – An unsettled  and active weather pattern across the Midwest brought multiple days of showers and thunderstorms across Iowa during the reporting period. The western two-thirds of Iowa experienced above average rainfall while the northeast corner was slightly drier than average.

Unseasonable coolness also continued across the state. Temperatures averaged 67.2 degrees, 4.1 degrees cooler than  normal.

A warm front draped across central Iowa mid-afternoon Sunday, June 16, setting up a stark temperature contrast across the state. Eastern Iowa reported highs in the mid to upper 60s, around 10-15 degrees below average. Temperatures across western Iowa reached the low to mid 80s, near normal for June. A cold front moved through on Monday, bringing measurable rainfall across Iowa’s northwestern third. Slow-moving thunderstorms brought locally heavy amounts; rain totals ranged from 0.25 inches to more than 1.50 inches; Pocahontas (Pocahontas County) reported 1.60 inches, 1.43 inches above average.

The cold front continued to move through Iowa on Tuesday, June 18, with measurable rain across much of the state. Isolated thunderstorms fired in Iowa’s southwestern corner; Atlantic (Cass County) and Randolph (Fremont County) reported 24-hour totals of 1.58 and 1.84 inches, respectively. High temperatures ranged from the upper 70s to low 80s in southern Iowa and 70s across the rest of the state. The average statewide high was 74 degrees, eight degrees below normal.

A weak low pressure system moving through northern Missouri brought showers to southern Iowa early on Wednesday. Additional development over central and southeastern Iowa during the afternoon and evening hours brought locally heavy rainfall to a handful of stations across three counties in extreme southeast Iowa; Salem (Henry County) reported 2.74 inches while Keokuk Lock and Dam (Lee County) observed 1.77 inches.

A stagnant low pressure system sat over the Midwest beginning Thursday, June 20, bringing waves of showers and thunderstorms through the weekend. Isolated showers and a few thunderstorms moved through Iowa during Thursday morning and afternoon. Western Iowa reported the highest totals with Sac City (Sac County) observing 2.40 inches, 2.21 inches above average. High temperatures remained cooler than average under cloudy skies, generally in the 70s statewide.

Friday, June 21, started off very wet as a line of strong thunderstorms sped across the state, leaving measurable rainfall at most stations. A second round of storms moved through southern Iowa in the late night hours into Saturday. Rain totals at 7 am were highest in central Iowa with Des Moines International Airport (Polk County) reporting 2.41 inches. Locations east and west had general totals between 0.20 to 1.00 inch; 20 stations reported more than an inch with the statewide average at 0.45 inch, 0.28 inch above average.

The remainder of Saturday was cool and wet across much of Iowa with highs in the mid to upper 70s, six degrees below normal. Thunderstorms moved into southwestern Iowa during the late afternoon and moved into central and eastern Iowa during the late evening hours. Some locations experienced torrential downpours and flash flooding in central Iowa from the large convective complex. There were also a few reports of severe hail and high winds. The system slowly moved through Iowa into Sunday  morning. Rain totals ranged from 0.01 inch in Sac City (Sac County) to 1.98 inches in Des Moines (Polk County).

Weekly rainfall totals ranged from 0.23 inch at Cresco (Howard County) to 5.01 inches in Allerton (Wayne County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.73 inches, while the normal is 1.17 inches. The week’s high temperature of 86 degrees was observed in Oakland (Pottawattamie County) on June 17, four degrees above normal. Cedar Rapids (Linn County) reported the week’s low temperature of 49 degrees on June 18, 12 degrees below average.

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