As cold, wet weather persisted yet another week, statewide Iowa farmers had only 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 15, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. When conditions allowed, farmers in the southern two-thirds of the State were busy applying fertilizer and seeding oats with isolated reports of tillage.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Recent heavy snow and rain have left northern Iowa with surplus soil moisture.
Twelve percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 9 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. While one-quarter of the oats have been planted in east central and southwest Iowa, northwest and north central Iowa have yet to get planting underway.
Livestock producers continue to experience challenges with snowfall and below normal temperatures stalling spring pasture growth and making tending to calves difficult throughout much of the State.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
Provided by Michael Timlin, Regional Climatologist Midwestern Regional Climate Center
Temperatures were below normal across the state, with readings more below normal further to the north. Precipitation was well above normal along the northern border and below normal along the southern border. Temperatures ranged from about 3 degrees cooler than normal in the south to as much as 12 degrees cooler than normal in the north. Freezing temperatures were recorded statewide in the first couple days of the week and then again for all but the southeast counties on the morning of the 15th. Minimum temperatures were above freezing on the 12th through the 14th for much of the state. Warm daytime temperatures pushed into the southern half of the state with a handful of 80 degree readings in southwestern Iowa. The warmest reading was 85 degrees on the 14th in Sidney. The coldest readings of the week were in northeastern Iowa on the 9th when Waukon fell to 4 degrees and Cresco fell to 8 degrees. Many northern Iowa stations recorded lows in the teens and below freezing highs during the week. Soil temperatures in the south climbed above 40 degrees but remained near freezing in the northwest. Precipitation totals ranged up to 3.91 inches in Spirit Lake and topped 3 inches at a handful of northern stations. Along the western and southern borders of the state, precipitations totals of less than a quarter inch were reported at multiple stations. Snow also was reported statewide, with totals exceeding a foot at some stations in northwestern and north central parts of the state. Spirit Lake reported 20.1 inches in the 7-day period. Storms on the 13th brought large hail and strong winds to Iowa. Hail reports up to 2 inches in diameter and wind damage reports to buildings and vehicles stretched between the southwest and northeast corners of the state.
The Forest City area is considerably under the normal temperature range for the month of April. The average so far this month the average high has been 34.3 degrees, but the normal temperature is 54 degrees. This leaves the area 19.7 degrees below normal for the month. Low temperature averages were naturally lower than the normal. The average low temperature this month has been 18.7 degrees, but the normal is 32.2 degrees. This leaves the area degrees below normal for the month.
The Forest City area has also fallen behind in precipitation for the month. Only .93 of an inch of precipitation has fallen, but the normal amount we get is 1.82 inches. This leaves the area .89 inches of precipitation below normal.