Wet weather kept farmers from the field for most of last week across Iowa, but the drier weather and warmer temperatures late in the week did allow some fieldwork and fertilizer applications to take place. USDA’s weekly Iowa Crop Progress & Weather Report for the week ending April 9 showed some nitrogen as well as dry fertilizer was applied.
“We will need some more warm and dry weather before we start to see widespread fieldwork,” observes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “We are also seeing very good spring growth of the cover crops that were planted last fall. We will be highlighting information about cover crops on the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s social media sites all this week. We encourage farmers to share photos of cover crops on their farm.”
The complete weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website, IowaAgriculture.gov, or on USDA’s site, nass.usda.gov/ia. Following is the crop report’s summary along with the preliminary summary by state climatologist Harry Hillaker with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Summary of crop report
Rain prevented fieldwork early in the week ending April 9, but by the weekend many Iowa farmers were able to get into their fields, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 1.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities included anhydrous ammonia, dry fertilizer and manure applications. There was some burning of Conservation Reserve Program groundcover as part of mid-contract management. Where conditions allowed, field cultivation took place. Farmers also prepared equipment for planting as they waited for the soil to warm up and dry out.
Across Iowa, topsoil moisture rated 1% very short, 3% short, 72% adequate and 24% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 1% very short, 5% short, 75% adequate and 19% surplus.
Iowa’s 2017 oat crop is now 17% planted, based on planting intentions. This is just over one week behind the five-year average. Oat acres that have been planted and are emerged reached 4%, three days behind average.
Pasture condition rates 3% very poor, 7% poor, 27% fair, 54% good and 9% excellent. Pastures are beginning to green up as temperatures rise. Calving continues with no reported issues. Feedlots remain muddy, but conditions are improving.
Weather summary for Iowa
The first half of last week brought persistent cloud cover and frequent light-to-moderate rainfall to the state. Light rain fell across the southeast three-fourths of the state on April 2, with rain falling statewide on April 3. Light rain fell over the northern one-third of Iowa on April 4 in the morning, with another area of rain falling across the southeast half of the state from that night into the afternoon of April 5.
Dry weather finally prevailed statewide until late in the day on April 9, when scattered thunderstorms moved into the state. Rain totals for the week were greatest across south-central Iowa, where Allerton reported 3.62 inches. The driest area was the far west and northwest, where rain amounts were mostly in the range of a quarter- to a half-inch. The town of Logan in Harrison County reported the least amount of rain for the week, with only 0.07 inch. The statewide average precipitation was 1 inch, while normal for the week is 0.68 inch.
Despite the dreary and damp early part of the week, temperatures mostly averaged 5 degrees F above seasonal norms from April 2 through April 4. Near to below-normal temperatures prevailed from April 5 through April 7. A freeze was recorded over all but a few locations across extreme southern and eastern Iowa on the morning of April 7, with Battle Creek in Ida County being the cold spot at 20 degrees.
Finally, much warmer weather prevailed over the weekend with highs in the 70s statewide on April 8, while a few 80 degree temperatures were recorded on April 9. Glenwood was the hot spot in Iowa with an 83 degree reading the afternoon of April 9. Temperatures for the week as a whole varied from 3 to 5 degrees above normal in southeast Iowa to 6 to 8 degrees above normal in the northwest, with a statewide average of 5.7 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth as of April 9 were averaging in the upper 40s over the extreme northwest to the 50s elsewhere, with a few reports averaging near 60 degrees.