Warm weather and drier conditions allowed Iowa farmers 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 8, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included, herbicide and fungicide applications, detasseling seed corn and harvesting hay.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 9 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 10 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Some fields remain ponded and have struggled to drain in the more saturated northern two-thirds of the State. In south central and southeast Iowa topsoil moisture supplies remain one-third to one-half short to very short.
Thirty-five percent of the corn crop has silked, 8 days ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Seventyeight percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition. Forty-six percent of the soybean crop was blooming, over one week ahead of the average. Seven percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, 3 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of the average. Seventy-six percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition. Ninety-seven percent of the oat crop has headed with 51 percent turning color, 2 days ahead of the average. Seventy-eight percent of the oat crop was rated in good to excellent condition.
The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 49 percent complete, 6 days ahead of average. Drier conditions provided producers a window to put up more hay. Hay condition declined to 71 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions also declined slightly to 64 percent good to excellent. Heat and high humidity have been hard on livestock, but cool overnight temperatures have helped reduce stress.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
Provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., State Climatologist Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
The 4th of July holiday week was relatively calm compared to the previous few weeks. Much of Iowa was able to dry out from last week’s widespread thunderstorm activity; a majority of the state saw below normal accumulations, from a few tenths to a little over an inch. On the other hand, Iowa’s northwest corner saw more rainfall, generally on the order of one to two inches above normal. On Monday (2nd) only a handful of stations from Plymouth to Kossuth Counties recorded measurable rainfall, with Swea City observing 0.89 inches. The state was dry heading into Independence Day, though a cold front propagated through Iowa’s northern third during Wednesday afternoon. The full system moved through overnight into Thursday, bringing near normal temperatures and lower humidity. Pocahontas recorded 2.90 inches of rain from the frontal passage, which was the week’s highest rainfall accumulation and 2.74 inches above normal. There were also multiple reports of severe straight-line winds from Shelby County to Winnebago County, with a 61-mph gust in Lake Mills. Thursday (5th) through Sunday (8th) saw nearly dry and sunny conditions reigning over the state. This pattern was attributed to a large high pressure system moving through Minnesota into the Great Lakes region. On Friday (6th) a few counties in southeast and northwest Iowa observed measurable rain from isolated thunderstorms; Washta, in Cherokee County, reported 1.50 inches. Over the weekend, average highs ranged from the low-to-mid 80s across the north and mid-to-upper 80s in the south. The week’s high temperature was 97 degrees and was observed in De Soto on Wednesday (4th) and Lamoni on Thursday (5th). Sheldon, in O’Brien County, reported the week’s low temperature of 49 degrees on Saturday (7th). This reading was 10 degrees below average.