Iowa: Frequent Rains Hinder Field Work – USDA

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending August 31, 2014.

    Frequent precipitation hindered fieldwork with only 2.3 days suitable across Iowa during the week ending August 31, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Above average temperatures aided crop development, and farmers are hopeful these temperatures will continue. Wet conditions have slowed hay harvest. Diseases in both corn and soybeans were reported across the State.

    Recent precipitation increased soil moisture. Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 9 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 15 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 15 percent short, 76 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. East central Iowa was the driest with one-quarter of its topsoil in very short to short condition.

    Over ninety percent of Iowa’s corn crop was in the dough stage or beyond, 23 percentage points above of last year and 6 points above the five-year average. Fifty-three percent of the corn crop had reached the dent stage, 8 days ahead of the previous year but 4 days behind normal. With corn beginning to mature, 76 percent of the corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.

    Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop was setting pods or beyond, 1 week ahead of last year but slightly behind average. Soybean leaves turning color reached 8 percent, 5 percentage points ahead of the previous year but 10 points behind the normal pace. Seventy-three percent of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition. Oat harvest for grain was virtually complete.

    The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 53 percent complete, 22 percentage points below last year and 23 points below the five-year average. Sixty-six percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition improved to 62 percent good to excellent. High humidity caused stress for some livestock. There were a few reports of calves being weaned.

    Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
    Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

    Showers and thunderstorms were nearly a daily occurrence across much of Iowa this past reporting week. Rain totals were above normal over all but small portions of far northwest and east central Iowa. Torrential rains of four inches or more were centered over Mills County on Wednesday (27th) morning and from Cass to Polk County on Thursday (28th) night. The most widespread rains came on Thursday and Friday while Saturday (30th) was mostly dry statewide.

    Widespread moderate to heavy rain, along with numerous reports of high winds, also occurred on Sunday (31st) night but will be included in next week’s report. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.34 inches at Lowden and 0.35 inches at Rock Rapids up to 7.55 inches at Persia in Harrison County (which had been the dry spot in the state the previous week). The statewide average precipitation was 2.18 inches, or more than double the weekly normal of 0.91 inches.

    Warm and humid air dominated the state most of the week with the warmest air on Sunday (24th) and Monday (25th) when temperatures reached into the nineties in many areas. A brief break from the heat came on Wednesday (27th) when daytime highs were mostly in the seventies. Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Monday (25th) afternoon high of 95 degrees at Donnellson to a Tuesday (26th) morning low of 53 degrees at Sibley.

    Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged near normal in far northwest Iowa to five degrees above normal across the southeast. The statewide average temperature was 3.1 degrees above normal. Burlington and Cedar Rapids reached 90 degrees for the first time this year on Sunday the 24th.

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