Persistent precipitation limited opportunities for farmers to plant corn or soybeans during the week ending May 23, 2021 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were just 2.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week. Where possible, field activities included planting and spraying.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 3% very short, 15% short, 71% adequate and 11% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 11% very short, 29% short, 54% adequate and 6% surplus.
Planting of Iowa’s expected corn crop is nearly complete at 97%, two weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Corn
emergence reached 75%, 5 days ahead of normal. Iowa’s first corn condition rating of the season showed 0% very poor, 1% poor, 21% fair, 64% good and 14% excellent. Eighty-nine percent of the soybean crop has been planted, 15 days ahead of normal. Soybeans emerged jumped 29 percentage points during the week, to 53%, 9 days ahead of the 5-year average. Farmers in south central and southeast Iowa still have at least 20% of their soybean crop to plant but some areas may need a few days to dry out enough to allow field work to resume. Ninety-six percent of the oat crop has emerged and 8% of oats have headed. Iowa’s oat condition rated 62% good to excellent.
Six percent of the State’s first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed. Iowa’s hay condition rating rose to 59% good to excellent. Pasture condition improved to 49% good to excellent. Warmer temperatures and rain have promoted good pasture and hay growth. Overall, livestock conditions are good, however, some producers reported muddy feedlots.
Some cows and calves have been turned out on grass.
A significant shift in the jet stream pulled moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into the Midwest bringing much needed rainfall across the state during the reporting period. A northward bulge in the atmospheric circulation pattern also broke a streak of cooler than normal temperatures as Iowa experienced unseasonably warm conditions; the statewide average temperature was 67.6 degrees, 4.2 degrees above normal.
With adequate moisture flowing into the Midwest, rain continued over Iowa through Thursday (20th) with a swath of 0.50 inch to 1.50 inches from the southwest through north-central Iowa. A discrete thunderstorm spawned a weak tornado over northwestern Dallas County during the evening with heavy downpours in certain locations; no damage was reported. Over 20 stations reported an inch or more with Boone (Boone County) picking up 2.14 inches. Overnight lows into Friday (21st) remained unseasonably warm under cloud cover and southerly winds; temperatures stuck in the mid to upper 60s with a statewide average low of 64 degrees, 13 degrees above normal.
Locally, the area has seen above normal highs. The average has been 70 degrees, but the normal is 67.6 degrees which outs the area 2.4 degrees above normal. Lows have also been above normal with the average low around 48.3 degrees and the normal at 46.1 degrees. This leaves the area 2.2 degrees above normal for the month of May.