This past week brought below-average temperatures and little to no rain across much of the State as Iowa farmers had 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 28, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included scouting, spraying fungicides and insecticides, and harvesting hay and oats.
Topsoil moisture condition was rated 4% very short, 21% short, 71% adequate and 4% surplus. Districts in the southern third of Iowa and the east-central district reported topsoil moisture conditions as over 40 percent short to very short. Some counties within those districts were also rated as abnormally dry for the first time this season according to July 25, 2019, U.S. Drought Monitor. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 2% very short, 14% short, 7% adequate and 5% surplus.
Sixty-nine percent of the corn crop has begun to silk, 13 days behind last year and 8 days behind the 5-year average. Seven percent of the crop reached the dough stage, nearly one week behind both last year and average. Corn condition rated 65% good to excellent. Sixty-five percent of the soybean crop has started to bloom, 13 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Thirteen percent of the crop has started setting pods, nearly two weeks behind average. Soybean condition rated 62% good to excellent.
Ninety-four percent of oats started coloring, 2 days behind last year and average. Thirty-nine percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, 6 days behind average. Oat condition rated 63% good to excellent.
The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 76%, 6 days behind average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay has started with 2% complete statewide. Hay condition rated 62% good to excellent. Pasture condition declined for the fourth straight week with 56% good to excellent. Cooler temperatures this past week helped improve livestock conditions.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
Iowa experienced a less active weather pattern during the reporting period with multiple days in which rainfall was largely absent from the state. With less thunderstorm activity, unseasonable dryness was reported across the state. Cooler than normal conditions also prevailed with average temperatures up to five degrees below normal in western Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 71.9 degrees, 1.5 degrees below normal.
Showers and isolated thunderstorms pushed out of Iowa through the rest of Sunday (21st) and into the overnight hours. Light but measurable rain fell across parts of western and southern Iowa, where totals were highest; Red Oak (Montgomery County) reported 0.32 inch while Rathbun Dam reported 0.18 inch. High temperatures were generally in the 70s with a statewide average high of 78 degrees, six degrees below normal. Unseasonably cool temperatures continued into Monday (22nd) under clear conditions and northerly flow. Dry conditions also prevailed as high pressure dominated. Overnight lows into Tuesday (23rd) dipped into the mid-50s, up to 12 degrees cooler than average. Dry and pleasant conditions continued through the day under partly cloudy skies.
In the Forest City area, precipitation totals will end up lower than normal for the month for the third year in a row. Currently, 2.7 inches of precipitation has fallen in the area while the normal is 4.47 inches. This leaves the area 1.77 inches below normal for the month of July. Last year at this time, the area was behind in precipitation totals falling 4.09 inches below normal for the month. In 2017, the area had the same issues falling 3.04 inches below normal. You have to go back to 2016 when the area was inundated with precipitation and ended up with nearly 7 inches for the month. It also put the area 2.53 inches above the normal for the month.
By comparison, weekly rainfall totals across the state ranged from no accumulation at De Witt (Scott County) to 0.55 inch at Underwood (Pottawattamie County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.13 inch, well below the normal of 0.97 inches.
Highs reached the upper 70s and low 80s, continuing the unseasonable coolness; there were no reports of measurable rainfall. Wednesday (24th) was a rain-free day across the state as temperatures started to approach more seasonal values; eastern Iowa reported highs in the mid-80s while western Iowa was two to four degrees below average.
Showers and a few thunderstorms moved through Iowa most of Thursday (25th) leaving measurable rainfall across the state. The highest totals were reported across northern Iowa; Rock Valley (Sioux County) observed 0.23 inch while Forest City (Winnebago County) reported 0.46 inch. West-central Iowa also picked up totals between 0.16 inch at Mapleton (Monona County) and 0.30 inch in Denison (Crawford County). Cloud cover and rainfall kept highs 10 to 15 degrees below average in northern Iowa with the average statewide temperature at 80 degrees, five degrees below normal. Friday (26th) saw temperatures rebound with a southerly wind and clear skies. Dry conditions also prevailed into Saturday (27th) for much of the state, though a narrow band of thundershowers extended from central to eastern Iowa, generally along the I-80 corridor. The northwest quadrant of Iowa also reported showers in advance of a cold front. Rainfall totals at 7:00 am on Sunday (28th) ranged from 0.03 inch at Sioux City (Woodbury County) to 0.36 inch in Traer (Tama County). Daytime highs on Saturday were in the mid to upper 80s with a statewide average of 88 degrees, four degrees warmer than normal.
In the Forest City area, temperatures stayed right around normal. The average high is 82.4 degrees which are just .2 degrees above the normal for this time of year at 82.2 degrees. The average low, was, a little higher than normal at 63.9 degrees. The normal is 62.2 degrees leaving the area 1.7 degrees higher than normal.
The week’s high temperature of 91 degrees was reported on the 27th in Ankeny (Polk County), Donnellson (Lee County) and Newton (Jasper County), five degrees above average. Atlantic (Cass County), Denison (Crawford County), Little Sioux (Harrison County) and Mapleton (Monona County) reported the week’s low temperature of 50 degrees on the 23rd, on average 13 degrees below average.