planter in field
GETTING STARTED: Warmer, drier weather last week allowed Iowa farmers to get started with their preplanting tillage and anhydrous application.

2019’s start to corn planting still slow in Iowa

Increased fieldwork activities include fertilizer and manure application, tillage, seeding oats, and some corn planting.

Nearly half of Iowa’s 2019 oat crop has now been planted, but not enough corn to show up in USDA’s statewide survey for the week ending April 21.

Mostly dry conditions, with spotty rains and warmer temperatures, allowed many farmers to get into the field last week. With favorable weather conditions ahead in the forecast, Iowa farmers will hopefully to make measurable progress this week.

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Weather Report is available on USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia.  

Crop report

It was mostly a dry week with spotty rains throughout Iowa during the week ending April 21, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork, two more days than the previous week. Warmer temperatures and drier conditions increased fieldwork activities that included anhydrous and fertilizer applications, tillage, seeding oats, and planting of corn.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 1% short, 75% adequate and 24% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0% very short, 0% short, 65% adequate and 35% surplus.

The survey shows 48% of Iowa’s expected oat crop for 2019 has been planted, six days ahead of last year, but five days behind the five-year average. Less than a quarter of the expected oats have been planted in northwest and north-central Iowa, while all the other crop reporting districts had at least 25% increases in their expected oats planted.

Pasture condition rates 3% very poor, 8% poor, 36% fair, 44% good and 9% excellent. Pastures continue to green gradually, and there were few comments of cattle being turned out to pastures as grazing may hurt the already slow growth. Warmer temperatures have improved livestock conditions and helped dry out feedlots.

Weather summary

According to Justin Glisan, state climatologist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa was unseasonably dry last week, with temperatures generally above average by a few degrees. Eastern Iowa observed near to slightly below-average temperatures.

Monday (April 15) was sunny across Iowa with southerly winds boosting daytime highs into the upper 60s to the lower 70s in the state’s southern half. Warm conditions continued into Tuesday as a warm front lifted across southern Iowa ahead of a low-pressure system. Highs again reached into the low to mid-70s across southern Iowa, between 12 to 15 degrees F above average.

Overnight lows into Wednesday were unseasonably warm, averaging 9 degrees above normal; Fort Madison (Lee County) observed 58 degrees, 14 degrees above average. A strong cold front moved through Iowa on Wednesday, firing off isolated severe thunderstorms in central and eastern Iowa. Alleman (Polk County) reported a farm shed destroyed from severe straight-line winds. Large hail was also reported in Marshall and Dubuque counties. Measurable rain fell across much of Iowa with locations in the eastern third reporting totals between 0.20 to 0.60 inch. Cresco (Howard County) observed 0.66 inch, while Keokuk (Lee County) reported 0.58 inch.

Temperatures cooled behind the frontal passage on Thursday. Statewide highs were in the 50s with lower 60s reported in central Iowa; these temperatures averaged 6 degrees below normal. Cascade (Dubuque County) reported 48 degrees, 12 degrees cooler than average. Sunny skies returned for much of Iowa on Friday and continued into the weekend. Saturday was warm and pleasant with highs in the low 70s east to low 80s west. Easter Sunday was the week’s warmest day. Mostly sunny skies prevailed with highs climbing into the low to mid-80s.

Statewide precipitation for the week ending May 21 averaged 0.18 inch, well below the normal of 0.96 inch. The week’s high temperature of 87 degrees was reported on the April 21 in Clarinda (Page County), Lamoni (Decatur County) and Red Oak (Montgomery County). Cresco (Howard County) and Stanley (Buchanan County) reported a low of 20 degrees on April 15. Decorah (Winneshiek County) reported the highest rainfall total of the week at 0.77 inch. As of Sunday, 4-inch soil temperatures were in the mid- to upper 50s statewide.

 

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