Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey this week commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
“Farmers, like everyone else, are ready for some more warm weather that will allow them to get out in the fields and prepare for the growing season,” Northey said. “Soils remain very cool, with frost still in the ground in Northern Iowa, and will need to warm. Some fertilizer applications have started.”
The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
Warmer temperatures allowed some farmers to do fieldwork during the week ending April 6, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 1.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Farmers in northern Iowa were able to get some fieldwork done early in the week before being halted by precipitation. Southern Iowa farmers were able to spend more time in the field with the South Central District averaging four days suitable, the highest in the State. Activities for the week included applying fertilizer and seeding oats. Farmers across the state were also busy preparing machinery for the upcoming planting season.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 8 percent very short, 30 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 16 percent very short, 44 percent short, 39 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Frost was still in the ground in most parts of the State causing little moisture to absorb to subsoil levels.
Seven percent of oats have been planted, 2 percent behind last year and 22 percent behind average. Pasture condition rated 19 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 19 percent good and 0 percent excellent. Most pastures were dormant or just starting to turn color. Livestock conditions were reported as good, except for areas where hogs have been affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv).
Iowa Preliminary Weather
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Iowa experienced typically variable early spring weather over the past week. The reporting week began with temperatures above normal on Sunday (30th) and Monday (1st) with high temperatures in the 60s northeast and 70s southwest both days. Little Sioux and Sidney reached 77 degrees on Sunday, while Clarinda had the week’s highest temperature with a 79 degree reading on Monday. Across parts of northeastern Iowa this was the first time since Nov. 17 that temperatures climbed higher than the 40’s. However, a strong cold front entered northwest Iowa late Monday morning and passed through all of the state by that evening. Temperatures were below freezing statewide by sunrise Tuesday (1st) with Holstein reporting a low of 14 degrees. Light rain fell across most of the state on Monday, but with amounts mostly under one-tenth of an inch. Cooler than normal weather prevailed for the remainder of the reporting week. Daytime highs were only in the mid 30s over northwestern Iowa on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The week’s heaviest precipitation fell on Thursday (3rd) with early morning thunderstorms bringing slightly more than an inch of rain to far southeastern Iowa, while snow fell across the northwest one-half of the state. Keokuk Airport and Burlington reported the most rain with 1.33 inches, while greatest snow amounts were reported at Sibley (7.8 inches) and near Cleghorn (9.0 inches). Morning low temperatures on Saturday (5th) fell to 16 degrees at Audubon and Atlantic. However, Saturday afternoon temperatures rose to the low 50s north to low 60s west. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.4 degrees below normal. Weekly precipitation totals varied from only 0.05 inches at Indianola to 1.38 inches at the Keokuk Airport. The statewide average precipitation was 0.40 inches or about two-thirds of the weekly normal of 0.64 inches. This was the 18th week among the past 21 weeks with below normal precipitation and below normal temperatures. The topsoil has thawed throughout the state, but considerable frost remains at depth over parts of the northern one-half of the state.