Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service.  The report is released weekly from April through October.

“At the end of each growing season farmers reflect on the year, but also look forward to the next and consider what they can do to make the next year even more successful,” Northey said.  “2013 certainly presented a number challenges, from late planting due to wet weather to a flash drought late in the summer, but overall it was a fairly successful year that showed again the resiliency and commitment of Iowa’s farmers.”

The report summary follows here: 


Cold and wet weather persisted across Iowa during the week ending November 24, 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Iowa corn harvest for grain or seed is nearing completion at 97 percent harvested, four percentage points ahead of normal. Other activities for the week included finishing fall tillage and baling corn stalks.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 8 percent very short, 23 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 20 percent very short, 35 percent short, 44 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 31 percent moderate to heavy. Ninety-four percent of Iowa reported adequate or surplus off-farm grain storage availability and 85 percent reported adequate or surplus on-farm grain storage availability.

Pasture condition rated 22 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 16 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Hay supplies were considered 17 percent short, 77 percent adequate, and 6 percent surplus across Iowa with 91 percent rated in fair to good condition.

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The past reporting week began with widespread light to moderate rain with a few thunderstorms on Sunday (17th) morning. Wednesday (20th) brought showers and a few thunderstorms to the southeast one-half of Iowa with Lamoni reporting the most rain with 0.92 inches. Finally, a third storm system brought light rain and/or freezing rain changing over to light snow from Thursday (21st) afternoon into Friday (22nd) morning. Maximum snowfall amounts were around two inches from Audubon to Boone in west central Iowa with maximum rain amounts around one-quarter inch in Taylor and Ringgold counties. Light snow cover of an inch or less persisted over most of southwest, central and northeast Iowa through the weekend. Weekly precipitation totals varied from only 0.01 inches at Rock Valley to 1.26 inches at Lamoni and 1.29 inches at Centerville. The statewide average precipitation was 0.37 inches or just a little less than the weekly normal of 0.44 inches. The week began with very mild weather on Sunday (17th) when late morning temperatures climbed to 71 degrees at Burlington, Clinton and Keokuk. Monday (18th) was much colder with daytime highs mostly in the 40’s. Tuesday (19th) and Wednesday (20th) were seasonably cool over the east while western Iowa warmed into the 50’s with a few 60’s. Temperatures plunged on Thursday (21st) and continued to fall through Sunday (24th) morning. Daytime highs were only in the teens over most of the northwest one-half of the state on Saturday (23rd). Minimum temperatures dipped to zero on Friday morning at Sheldon and on Saturday morning at Sibley. Webster City recorded the lowest temperature of the week with a Sunday (24th) morning low of minus 3 degrees. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.9 degrees below normal. The uppermost two to four inches of soil was frozen across much of Iowa by Sunday.

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