Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today 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.
“The persistent heat and humidity is a challenge for both crops and livestock and farmers are hoping for a break in the heat,” Northey said. “Fortunately, 80 percent of both the corn and soybean crop remains in good to excellent condition, but timely rains remain very important.”
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 follows here:
HOT AND HUMID
Last week’s high heat and humidity were concerns, but adequate moisture levels helped crops come through the extremes without substantial stress. Insect populations in soybean fields appear to be on the rise with many fields being treated. Flooded acreage along the Missouri River appears to be stabilizing in many areas; however, as levee breaches widen, some areas are seeing additional acres flooded.
There were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. The southern third of the State enjoyed 6.0 or more days suitable. Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 20 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 1 percent very short, 13 percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus.
Ninety percent of the corn crop is now tasseling, behind last year’s 92 percent, but ahead of the average 80 percent. Three-quarters of the corn crop is silking, which remains behind the 82 percent in 2010 but is ahead of the five-year average of 65 percent. Seven percent of the corn crop has reached the milk stage and 1 percent has reached the dough stage. Corn condition is reported at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 52 percent good, and 28 percent excellent; unchanged at the State level from last week. Seventy-nine percent of the soybean crop is blooming, marginally behind the previous year’s 80 percent but slightly ahead of the five-year average of 78 percent. Pods are being set on 24 percent of the soybean crop compared with 40 percent last year at this time and the average 36 percent. Soybean condition is reported at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 16 percent fair, 53 percent good and 27 percent excellent. Ninety-three percent of the oat crop has turned color, slightly behind the 96 percent in 2010 and the average 94 percent. Forty-three percent of the oat crop has been harvested, behind last year’s 54 percent but ahead of the normal 38 percent. Oat condition stands at 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 15 percent excellent. Second cutting alfalfa hay harvest, at 79 percent complete, is ahead of last year’s 68 percent and the normal 70 percent. Third cutting alfalfa hay harvest has begun. The condition of the hay crop is reported at 2 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.
Pasture and range condition deteriorated to 2 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 50 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. Livestock deaths were reported as last week’s excessive heat took a toll. Pasture growth slowed as the heat persisted.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Iowa endured a very hot and humid week. The hottest weather prevailed from Sunday (17th) through Wednesday (20th) with temperatures averaging more than ten degrees above normal. Temperatures and humidity declined slightly for the remainder of the week but were still well above normal. Keosauqua reported daily high temperatures of 98 degrees or higher every day of the week, topping out at 102 degrees on Monday (18th). The heat index officially climbed above 110 degrees in some areas on every day except Thursday (21st) and Sunday (24th) with a maximum reading of 117 at Spencer on Monday. Unofficial heat indices soared as high as 130 degrees. On the other extreme Sibley reported the lowest temperature of the week with a Thursday morning low of 62 degrees. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 8.9 degrees above normal. Meanwhile dry weather prevailed statewide through Wednesday. Much needed rain fell nearly statewide from Thursday evening into Friday morning and over much of the eastern two-thirds of Iowa on Friday evening into Saturday morning. Finally, rain again fell over much of eastern Iowa on Sunday (24th) morning. Rain amounts were highly variable with very little over the northwest and far southern Iowa while heavy rain fell over much of east central Iowa, which had been the driest portion of the state in recent months. Weekly rain totals varied from none at Rock Valley, Sheldon and Keosauqua to 6.07 inches near Stanley in northern Buchanan County and 5.92 inches at De Witt. The statewide average precipitation was 1.17 inches while normal for the week is 0.94 inch.