Iowa: Crops Ahead of Last Year, Behind Average – USDA

    Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending September 21, 2014.

    Iowa farmers took advantage of the most days suitable for fieldwork in over a month during the week ending September 21, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included chopping silage and harvesting hay.

    Soil moisture levels remained steady during the week across Iowa. Topsoil moisture rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 80 percent adequate, and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 8 percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus.

    Ninety-two percent of Iowa’s corn crop was in or beyond the dent stage, 4 days ahead of the previous year but 3 days behind the five-year average. Corn mature reached 37 percent, 10 days behind normal. Unchanged from the previous 3 weeks, 76 percent of the corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.

    Leaves were turning color on 79 percent of the soybean crop, 5 days ahead of the previous year but 3 days behind average. Thirty-four percent of the soybean acreage was dropping leaves, 4 days ahead of last year, but 5 days behind normal. Unchanged from last week, 74 percent of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition.

    The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 80 percent complete, the lowest percent complete by this date in over 20 years. Pasture condition rated 67 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal.

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

    A pair of weather systems brought light to moderate rain to most of the state on both Monday (15th) and Friday (19th). Dry weather prevailed across most of Iowa the other days of the week. Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.02 inches in northeastern Washington County to 1.85 inches at the Spencer Airport. The statewide average precipitation for the week was 0.58 inches, or a little less than the weekly normal of 0.77 inches. This was Iowa’s driest week in seven weeks.

    Meanwhile, the week began with unseasonably cool weather with highs mostly in the sixties on Sunday (14th), Monday (15th) and Tuesday (16th). Some frost was reported on Tuesday morning with lows down to 33 degrees at Battle Creek, Elkader, Sheldon and Stanley. Temperatures were just slightly below normal in most areas on Wednesday and Thursday with daytime highs mostly in the seventies.

    Much warmer weather arrived Friday and continued through the day on Saturday with a cool front passing through Iowa Saturday night. Sioux City and Little Sioux both reached 90 degrees on Friday afternoon while far eastern Iowa temperatures peaked in the upper seventies on Saturday.

    The statewide average temperature for the week was 3.0 degrees below normal, with far northwest Iowa averaging one degree above normal while the extreme southeast averaged seven degrees subnormal.

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