This spring is the wettest on record in Iowa. The statewide average rainfall of 16.6 inches is the most rain that has fallen during the three-month period of March, April and May in the 141 year history of weather recordkeeping for the state. That's what state climatologist Harry Hillaker announced on May 29--and there were still two more days left in the month!
The rainfall has been spread out and has come in different "events" this spring. Hillaker says the previous major floods in recent years in Iowa have typically followed wet years, and since it's been dry in Iowa the past couple of years, that might help matters this year. However, the chance of a major flood occurring is still a possibility this year, he notes. Iowa's record amount of rain this spring has helped replenish Iowa's dry soils, re-fill rivers, and is now benefiting thirsty aquifers, streams and lakes in western Iowa.
"Farmers whose crops withered in last year's drought are now being kept from finishing planting their 2013 crop because of too much water in the fields," observes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. Iowa farmers are still behind on planting, although they managed to get 85% of the state's 2013 corn crop in the ground by May 26, according to the weekly survey conducted by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. In a normal year, 98% of the state's crop would be planted by now.
Iowa has 85% of its 2013 corn acreage planted as of May 26; typically 98% would be planted by that date
"The wet weather this spring continues to slow planting progress as farmers remain well behind the 5-year average for both corn and soybean planting," Northey adds. "It will likely take several days of dry weather for fields to dry out enough for farmers to resume planting."