Home 5 Ag Stories Warm weather provided opportunity for weekend fieldwork

Warm weather provided opportunity for weekend fieldwork

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Monday afternoon on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service.  The report is released weekly from April through October.

“Wet weather kept farmers from the field for most of the week, but the dryer weather and warmer temps late in the week allowed some field work and fertilizer applications to take place.  We will need some more warm and dry weather before we start see widespread fieldwork,” Northey said.  “We are also seeing very good spring growth of the cover crops that were planted last fall.  We will be highlighting cover crops on the Department’s social media all this week and encourage farmers to share photos of cover crops on their farm as well.”

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 summary follows here:


Rain prevented field work early in the week ending April 9, 2017, but by the weekend many Iowa producers were able to get into their fields, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 1.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Field work activities included anhydrous, fertilizer, and manure applications, and some CRP burning as part of mid-contract management. Where conditions allowed, field cultivation also took place. Farmers also prepared equipment for planting as they waited for the soil to warm up and dry out.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 72 percent adequate, and 24 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 19 percent surplus.

Seventeen percent of the State’s expected oat crop has been planted, just over one week behind the 5-year average. Oats emerged reached 4 percent, three days behind average.

Pasture condition rated 3 percent very poor, 7 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 54 percent good, and 9 percent excellent. Pastures are beginning to green up as temperatures rise. Calving continues with no reported issues. Feedlots remain muddy, but are improving.



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

The first one-half of the reporting week brought persistent cloud cover and frequent light to moderate rainfall to the state. Light rain fell across the southeast three-fourths of the state on Sunday (2nd) with rain falling statewide on Monday (3rd). Light rain fell over the northern one-third of Iowa on Tuesday (4th) morning with another area of rain falling across the southeast one-half of the state from Tuesday night into Wednesday (5th) afternoon. Dry weather finally prevailed statewide until late Sunday (9th) when scattered thunderstorms moved into the state. Rain totals for the week were greatest across south central Iowa where Allerton reported 3.62 inches.

The driest area was the far west/northwest where rain amounts were mostly in the one-quarter to one-half inch range. Logan reported the least rain for the week with only 0.07 inches. The statewide average precipitation was 1.00 inches while normal for the week is 0.68 inches. Despite the dreary and damp early week weather, temperatures mostly averaged around five degrees above seasonal norms from Sunday (2nd) through Tuesday (4th). Near to below normal temperatures prevailed from Wednesday (5th) through Friday (7th).

A freeze was recorded over all but a few locations across extreme southern and eastern Iowa on Friday (7th) morning with Battle Creek in Ida County the cold spot at 20 degrees. Finally, much warmer weather prevailed over the weekend with highs in the seventies statewide on Saturday (8th) while a few eighties were recorded on Sunday (9th). Glenwood was the hot spot with an 83 degree reading Sunday afternoon. Temperatures for the week as a whole varied from 3 to 5 degrees above normal southeast to 6 to 8 degrees above normal northwest with a statewide average of 5.7 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth as of Sunday (9th) were averaging in the upper forties over the extreme northwest to the fifties elsewhere with a few reports averaging near 60 degrees.