Iowa crops move toward maturity

DES MOINES ? Iowa farmers had 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sunday, Aug. 5, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

?Crops continue to move toward maturity with both corn and soybeans more than a week ahead of the 5-year average. Seventy-five percent of the corn crop and 74 percent of soybeans are rated good to excellent, both down slightly from last week,? said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

The Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report is released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service weekly from April through November. The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship?s website at or on USDA?s site at

According to the report summary:

Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, spraying for aphids, and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 12 percent very short, 24 percent short, 61 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 10 percent very short, 21 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa continued to fall with 48 percent considered very short.

Almost the entire corn crop has silked. Fifty-five percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, over a week ahead of average. Corn dented was at 8 percent. Corn condition fell to 75 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 81 percent setting pods, over a week ahead of both last year and the average. Soybean condition declined slightly to 74 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-two percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay has neared completion. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 30 percent complete, three days behind the previous year, but four days ahead of the average. Hay condition fell to 61 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions declined to 46 percent rated good to excellent. Regrowth of pastures and hay has been a concern, especially in the southern two-thirds of the State.


Weather summary

Much of Iowa had below average temperatures and precipitation for the reporting period.

July 30 and July 31 were unsettled, with widely scattered thunderstorms, especially the afternoon and evening of July 30. Cresco in Howard County and Greenfield in Adair County received rainfall of 1.10 inches and 1.04 inches, respectively.

On Aug. 1, a cold front worked its way from the northwest to southeast, producing severe thunderstorms across central Iowa. There were multiple reports of 1-inch diameter hail from Otho in Webster County to Boone in Boone County. Local rainfall accumulations ranged from 0.61 inches in Ames in Story County to 0.53 inches in Dubuque County.

Statewide average highs were generally in the lower 80s, between 2 to 5 degrees below average north to south. Another cold front crossed the state on Aug. 2, bringing spotty thundershowers to parts of Iowa, though very little in measurable precipitation. On Aug. 3, a warm front lifted over the state bringing warmer temperatures; highs ranged from the mid-70s to low 80s in the north and mid-80s in the southern third.

During the early morning hours of Aug. 4, an organized storm system moved into western Iowa, bringing rainfall to many stations; Sioux Center in Sioux County reported 2.02 inches, the week?s highest accumulation.

Severe weather returned on Aug. 5 as a surface front brought multiple rounds of thunderstorms along Highway 20. There were reports of hail and high winds from Webster City in Hamilton County to Dubuque in Dubuque County. Measurable rainfall was reported at many stations across the state?s northern half, with Sheldon in O?Brien County reporting 2 inches, 1.88 inches above normal.

Aug. 3 through Aug. 5, temperatures were near normal in the north and above average, by around 3 degrees, in the south. Lamoni in Decatur County observed the week?s high temperature of 98 degrees, 13 degrees above normal.

The Iowa Preliminary Weather Report is provided by Justin Glisan, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.