Planting well ahead of average year, welcome rainfall received

There were 4.3 days suitable for field work during the week ending May 17,  according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Windy days made spraying weeds difficult, but planting continued prior to most of Iowa receiving rain in the latter half of the week.

Topsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 2 percent very short, 7 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were drier at  5 percent very short, 15 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels stateside rated 1 percent very short, 6 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 2 percent very short, 14 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.

Iowa farmers have planted 96 percent of the expected corn crop, nearly a month ahead of last year and almost three weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Only Southwest Iowa farmers have more  than 10 percent remaining to be planted. Corn emergence improved to 62 percent, almost double that of the previous week.

The soybean crop moved to 86 percent planted, also nearly a month ahead of last year and three weeks ahead of average. Farmers in the northern one-third of the state have less than 10 percent of their soybeans left to plant. One-fourth of the soybean crop has emerged. Seeding of the oat crop is virtually complete, with 91 percent emerged. Oat condition rated 80 percent good to excellent.

Hay condition rated 71 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition rated 62 percent good to excellent. Warmer temperatures would help improve growth in pastures and hay fields. Livestock conditions continue to be good with little to no stress reported.

Preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Unseasonably cool conditions persisted across Iowa during the reporting period, though temperatures were not as cold as last week. Temperatures were generally four to eight degrees cooler than normal with the statewide average temperature of 54.4 degrees, 6.1 degrees below normal.

In a welcome change, wetter than normal conditions returned across much of Iowa with near to below normal conditions reported in pockets of western Iowa. Southeastern Iowa reported the wettest conditions with positive departures of up to three inches.

Cloud cover remained as spotty showers formed on the backside of a low pressure system moving east through northern Illinois on Sunday afternoon, May 10. Gusty northwest winds slowed down as daytime highs remained colder than average, in the mid 40s north to mid 50s south. Cloudy conditions persisted into Monday  with overnight lows remaining in the upper 30s and low 40s. Skies began to clear towards late afternoon and evening as a weak cold front dropped south across Iowa.

With a light north wind, morning temperatures on Tuesday, May 12, were unseasonably cold with lows across eastern Iowa in the mid to upper 20s. Cloud cover in western Iowa held temperatures in the low 40s with the statewide average at 35 degrees, 12 degrees cooler than normal. Conditions through the day began to warm as partly sunny skies were observed across much of the state. Highs reached into the upper 50s and low 60s, though still six to 16 degrees below normal. A small disturbance moved through Iowa during the afternoon and evening hours on Wednesday, bringing showers and thunderstorms. Rain totals from this system were highest across northern and eastern Iowa. Daytime highs remained in the mid to upper 50s.

A warm front lifted across southern Iowa overnight into Thursday, May 14, in advance of a strong low pressure center, forcing additional showers and thunderstorms in southern Iowa. Additional storms, some strong to severe, formed during the evening hours across central Iowa with multiple reports of hail and straight-line winds; a 3.00-inch-sized hail stone was reported in New Virginia (Warren County). Moderate to heavy rain fell across southeastern Iowa as thunderstorms slowly moved over the same areas. Two-day rainfall totals at 7 am on Friday, May 15, showed nearly 40 stations reporting more than 2 inches; half of the state’s rain gauges observed at least 0.63 inch with a statewide average rainfall of 0.84 inch. Ottumwa Industrial Airport (Wapello County) reported 4.43 inches, breaking its rainfall record for the date as well as tying its existing May daily record set in 1993.

High pressure dominated during the rest of the day with overnight lows into Saturday  remaining in the 50s under generally clear skies. A broad system of showers and thunderstorms entered western Iowa and propagated through the state during the early evening and overnight hours. Measurable totals were reported statewide with a concentrated rain band along the low’s attendant cold front bringing at least 0.50 inch to much of Iowa’s western two-thirds. The heaviest amounts fell across northern Iowa, where the low slowly spun before exiting the state into Sunday  morning, May 17; Mason City (Cerro Gordo County) reported 2.25 inches while Ringsted (Emmet County) observed 2.43 inches. The statewide average rain total was 0.86 inch.

Weekly rain totals ranged from 0.16 inch in Sioux City (Woodbury County) to 5.14 inches at Ottumwa Industrial Airport (Wapello County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.71 inches while the normal is 1.05 inches. Donnellson (Lee County) and Lamoni (Decatur) reported the week’s high temperature of 81 degrees on May 14, on average nine degrees warmer than normal. Stanley (Buchanan County) reported the week’s low temperature of 24 degrees on May 12, 22 degrees cooler than normal.

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