Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa crop progress and condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
“Overall the weather continues to be very good for crop development, with 77 percent of corn and 74 percent of soybeans in good to excellent condition. Much of the state could use a shower, especially to help the soybeans as they set and fill pods during August,” Northey said.
Statewide there were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending August 3, 2014; the most this growing season according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. This was just above the 6.3 days suitable two weeks ago. Activities for the week included fungicide and insecticide application, cutting all types of hay, and harvesting oats.
Lack of precipitation caused a drop in soil moisture. Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 23 percent short, 70 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 16 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus.
Ninety-three percent of the corn acreage was at or beyond the silking stage, just over 2 weeks ahead of the previous year and 5 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn in or past the dough stage reached 36 percent, double the normal amount. With a few farmers reporting corn starting to dent, 77 percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition. Ninety-one percent of the soybean acreage was blooming or beyond, 14 percentage points ahead of last year and barely ahead of average. Sixty-five percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, well ahead of last year’s 32 percent. Soybean condition was unchanged from the previous week with 74 percent of the crop in good to excellent condition. With almost the entire oat acreage having turned color, oat harvest for grain was 69 percent complete, falling to 4 percentage points behind last year and 12 points behind normal. Seventy-four percent of the remaining oat acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.
The second cutting of alfalfa hay was 85 percent complete, equal to the previous year but 3 percentage points behind the five-year average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay advanced to 9 percent complete, 3 days ahead of last year but almost 2 weeks behind the normal pace. Sixty-six percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition deteriorated again to 61 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as optimal.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Unseasonably cool and mostly dry weather prevailed across Iowa this past week. Temperatures were below normal throughout the week with the coolest readings on Monday (28th) and Tuesday (29th) when highs were mostly in the seventies statewide. Temperature extremes for the week varied from morning lows of 46 degrees at Sheldon on Tuesday and Wednesday with the highest temperatures on Saturday (2nd) afternoon of 87 degrees at Cresco, Des Moines, Osceola and Rock Rapids. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.3 degrees below normal. The largest rain event of the week came late Saturday (2nd) night into Sunday (3rd) morning across the southwest quarter of Iowa. Rain amounts of more than an inch were common from Missouri Valley south-southeastward to Hamburg and Shenandoah. Otherwise there were isolated showers and thunderstorms each day except Sunday (27th) and Wednesday (30th) but areal coverage of these rains were very limited. Randolph in Fremont County reported the most rain for the week with 1.98 inches while large portions of the northeast two-thirds of the state received no rain of consequence. The statewide average precipitation was 0.12 inches while normal for the week is 0.94 inches.