The latest weekly USDA survey shows 17% of the nation's corn crop was planted as of April 15, 2012—well ahead of the normal 5% by this date. Iowa, which traditionally plants later along with the other upper Midwest states, had 5% of its corn crop in the ground by April 15 compared with a normal of 3%.
Rains this past weekend improved much of Iowa's soil moisture situation. "Much of the state received welcome moisture, but unfortunately it was accompanied by severe weather that caused significant damage," notes Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "Overall corn planting has gotten off to a good start this spring but I expect progress to advance rapidly as threat of frost continues to diminish."
The weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is released each Monday afternoon by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Greg Thessen, director of the NASS office in Des Moines, says it was delayed this week until Tuesday April 17. The weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia.
Rains this past weekend improved much of Iowa's soil moisture situation
The report says rainfall this past weekend helped improve Iowa's soil moisture situation in many areas of the state. The north central and northwest parts of Iowa remain driest, with north central Iowa rated 66% dry or extremely dry and northwest Iowa rated 26% dry. State climatologist Harry Hillaker at the Iowa Department of Agriculture notes that "the statewide average precipitation was 1.99 inches for the week ending April 15, 2012 which is more than double the weekly normal of 0.80 inch."
Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes struck the state on Saturday, April 14. Farmers fear hay growth was affected during the early part of the week after most of the state received a hard freeze.
There were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the past week. The widespread rain improved moisture levels throughout the state. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 6% very short, 21% short, 66% adequate and 7% surplus. Subsoil moisture also improved and is now rated 14% very short, 31% short, 53% adequate and 2% surplus.
Farmers were able to get some corn planted before this past week's storms
Farmers across Iowa were able to get some corn planted before this past week's storms. As of April 15 Iowa's corn acreage was 5% planted compared with 1% at this time last year and the 5-year average of 3%. Oat acreage planted was 87% complete, ahead of last year's 57% and 5-year average of 40%. Also, 45% of the oat acreage has emerged which is 9 days ahead of normal.
Pasture and range condition is currently rated at 1% very poor, 3% poor, 19% fair, 54% good and 22% excellent. Just over three-quarters of Iowa's pasture and range land is now rated good to excellent, an 8 percentage point increase from the previous week.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending April 15, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
It was a very eventful week across Iowa. A freeze was recorded over portions of northern Iowa on Monday (April 9) morning with temperatures falling to as low as 25 degrees at Spencer. Much colder weather prevailed on Tuesday (April 10) and Wednesday (April 11) mornings. All but a few far southern Iowa locations recorded a freeze on Tuesday morning with a hard freeze over much of the state. Sibley reported the lowest temperature on Tuesday at 16 degrees. Unfortunately it was a little colder yet on Wednesday morning with all reporting points with the exception of a few locations right on the Mississippi River recording a freeze. Sibley was again the cold spot at 15 degrees. Finally, much of the northeast one-half of the state endured another freeze on Thursday (April 12) morning, however, temperatures were not as low as seen earlier in the week.
Much warmer weather returned for the weekend with temperatures well above normal on Saturday (April 14) and Sunday (April 15). Waterloo reported the highest temperature reaching 77 degree s on Sunday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.4 degrees above normal. Much needed rain fell statewide late in the week but was accompanied by severe weather over much of southern Iowa on Saturday evening. Showers and thunderstorms brought rain statewide from Thursday evening to midday on Friday with a few areas in the southwest seeing over one inch. Much heavier rain fell on Saturday and Saturday night with two to three inch amounts common over much of southwestern and central Iowa. Very intense rain fell with the Saturday storms in some areas. Showers and thunderstorms were also scattered across Iowa on Sunday but amounts were mostly light.
Week ending April 15, 2012 was Iowa's wettest week since late June 2011
Weekly rain totals varied from 0.61 inch at Fairfield to 6.59 inches at Red Oak. The statewide average precipitation was 1.99 inches, or more than double the weekly normal of 0.80 inch. This was Iowa's wettest week since late June 2011. Severe storms were reported from 26 southern Iowa counties on Saturday with hail, high winds, brief torrential rains and a few tornadoes reported. The worst damage was reported from Thurman and Creston from tornadoes rated as EF-2 intensity. Finally, soil temperatures as of Sunday (April 15) were averaging in the upper 50s statewide.