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Serving: IA
ponding on farm field
FAMILIAR SCENE: This photo shot May 26 near Mitchellville in central Iowa shows the ponding present in many fields.

Rain continues to stymie planting progress

Iowa farmers only had one day suitable for fieldwork last week.

Only 6% of the expected 2019 Iowa corn crop was planted through May 26, as rainstorms continue to keep farmers out of fields. Iowa now has 76% of its corn planted, the least amount planted by this date since 1995 when 75% was planted. Iowa’s soybean crop is now 32% planted, the least since 1993 when just 23% was planted.

USDA’s weekly crop progress report was released May 28 — a day later due to Memorial Day holiday. The report estimates planting and crop emergence progress through May 26.

“The Corn Belt is stuck in a weather pattern that’s creating persistent wet conditions,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “This is causing historic planting delays. With only one day suitable for fieldwork last week, Iowa’s corn planting progress is 10 days behind and soybeans are two weeks behind last year. Farmers are anxious to get their crops in the field if we get a break from the rain.”

U.S. corn planting is only 58% complete, a gain of 9% last week. Soybean planting in the U.S. is 29% complete versus a five-year average of 66%. USDA estimates 32% of the U.S. corn crop has emerged, compared to 69% for the five-year average. Only 11% of the nation’s soybean crop has emerged, compared to a five-year average of 66%.

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report is at  

Crop report

Heavy rain and damaging storms kept Iowa farmers from making much planting progress, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. South-central and southeast Iowa had less than a half day suitable for fieldwork last week with little to no planting progress. Several comments were received from Iowa farmers investigating the possibility of taking prevented planting options provided by crop insurance.

Topsoil moisture rates 0% very short, 0% short, 41% adequate and 59% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rate 0% very short, 1% short, 44% adequate and 55% surplus.

With only 6% of the state’s 2019 expected corn crop planted last week, Iowa corn farmers now have 76% of the expected crop planted, 10 days behind last year and two weeks behind the five-year average. This is the smallest amount of corn planted by May 26 in Iowa since 1995, when 75% of the expected crop had been planted. The statewide survey shows 42% of the 2019 crop has emerged, nine days behind last year and 10 days behind average.

Less than one-third of the state’s expected soybean crop has been planted, two weeks behind last year and the average. This is the smallest percent of soybeans planted by May 26 since 1993, when just 23% of the expected crop had been planted. Statewide, 8% of the bean crop has now emerged, 12 days behind last year and eight days behind average.

Iowa’s oat crop is 87% emerged, eight days behind average. Some alfalfa hay is ready to be cut, but wet conditions are preventing Iowa farmers from entering fields. Hay condition decreased slightly to 60% now rated good-to-excellent. Pasture condition improved to 64% good-to-excellent. Continued rains made feedlots muddy and stressed cattle.

Weather summary

Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship, says the last full week of May saw an active weather pattern across Iowa, brought on by unseasonable wetness and severe storms. Measurable rain fell every day during the week ending May 26, with six days of at least one severe weather report. Average temperatures were unseasonably cool with northwest Iowa having coolest conditions.

Highs on Monday (May 20) were well below average as clouds blanketed Iowa. Overnight lows Sunday (May 19) into Monday dipped into the upper 30s in northeast to upper 40s southeast. Highs only reached the mid-50s with warmest temperatures in northern and eastern Iowa, though 10 to 20 degrees below average.

Rain moved across Iowa’s southern third ahead of a strong low-pressure system that brought unseasonably wet conditions across the state May 21. The system brought multiple waves of moderate to heavy rain across Iowa. All stations reported measurable rain with the highest totals across southern Iowa; accumulations ranged from 0.22 inch in Muscatine (Muscatine County) to 1.64 inches in Algona (Kossuth County).

Severe thunderstorms moved into southwest Iowa late Tuesday night into early Wednesday. An EF-2 tornado touched down in Adair (Adair County) with wind speeds up to 130 mph. Extensive structural damage was reported at a house and nearby farm buildings. Unfortunately, one fatality and one injury were reported; this was the first tornado-related death in Iowa since April 27, 2014.

An EF-1 tornado touched down in Anita (Cass County), causing barn damage May 22. As the system exited Iowa, light rain showers formed in northwest Iowa, leaving average totals of around a 10th of an inch. Rest of the day was warm and windy under sunny skies. Brisk southwest winds 25 to 35 mph boosted highs near 80 degrees in southeast Iowa; temperatures were in the mid-60s to low-70s across the rest of Iowa. Isolated severe thunderstorms raced through Lee County during late evening, leaving behind 1-inch hail and heavy rain.

Thursday (May 23) was dry most of the day with high pressure to the west. A potent low-pressure system moved into Iowa in the evening, bringing widespread showers and thunderstorms that remained into Friday morning. Warm daytime highs helped fuel storms in eastern Iowa during late afternoon and evening.

An EF-1 rated tornado briefly touched down in southwest Johnson County causing minor structural damage. Thunderstorms, some severe, formed over Iowa’s southern half in the evening and through the night on Saturday (May 25). Rain persisted into Sunday with totals at 7 a.m. averaging 0.25 inch; Keokuk reported 2.21 inches, 1.93 inches above average. Weekend temperatures were above average by up to 4 to 8 degrees across most of Iowa.

Weekly rain totals ranged from 1.48 inches in Cedar Rapids (Linn County) to 5.42 inches in Red Oak (Montgomery County). Statewide weekly average rainfall was 2.60 inches, over double the normal of 1.05 inches. Temperatures averaged 58.9 degrees, 4 degrees below normal. The week’s high temperature of 87 degrees was at Keokuk Lock and Dam (Lee County) on May 24, 11 degrees warmer than average. Sibley (Osceola County) had the week’s low temperature of 33 degrees on May 21, 14 degrees below average.

TAGS: Weather
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