Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Iowa: Soil Moisture, Crop Conditions Continue to Decline – US-DA

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Crop Progress and Condition for the Week Ending August 25, 2013.

While most of southern Iowa was dry, northern portions of the State received some much-needed rain during the week ending August 25, 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Higher than average temperatures coupled with the lack of significant precipitation heightened concerns over soil moisture and crop conditions. Statewide there was an average of 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork.

A total of 28 percent of topsoil and 34 percent of subsoil was in the adequate and surplus moisture categories, both declining 7 percentage points from last week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 35 percent very short, 37 percent short, 28 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 26 percent very short, 40 percent short, 33 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. With 95 percent of topsoil in the very short and short categories, the Southeast district was the driest in the State.

With nearly all the corn crop silked, 80 percent of the crop reached the milk stage, trailing the normal 95 percent. Forty-six percent of the crop has reached the dough stage, well behind the normal 77 percent. Nine percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, more than two weeks behind normal. Corn condition declined from the previous week, and was rated at 6 percent very poor, 15 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 37 percent good and 7 percent excellent.

With almost all the soybean crop blooming, pods were being set on 83 percent of the soybean crop, behind last year’s 98 percent and the normal 95 percent. Soybean condition declined slightly from last week and was rated 6 percent very poor, 14 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 37 percent good and 8 percent excellent.

The warm and mostly dry conditions allowed harvest of third cutting alfalfa hay to reach 61 percent complete, matching the normal pace, but still well behind last year’s 95 percent. Both hay and pasture conditions continued to deteriorate, and the amount rated in the good and excellent categories fell 5 and 6 percentage points, respectively. Hay condition was rated at 8 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 36 percent good and 5 percent excellent. Pasture condition rated 15 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 20 percent good and 2 percent excellent.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Most of Iowa endured another dry week while the mild weather of recent weeks rapidly came to an end. The primary precipitation event of the week came Wednesday (21st) evening into Thursday (22nd) morning with thunderstorms occurring over much of the northern one-third of the state. Rains of an inch or more fell in a narrow band from Plymouth County eastward to Clayton and Allamakee counties. Le Mars reported the most rain from this event with 2.75 inches.

The only other rain of consequence came Saturday (24th) morning over the northwest one-quarter of the state with Hawarden reporting the most rain with 1.61 inches. Unfortunately no rain fell over much of southern Iowa during the past week. The last measurable rain (0.01 inch or more) at Burlington, Mount Pleasant and Keokuk came on July 30. The statewide average precipitation for the past reporting week was 0.34 inches while normal is 0.98 inches.

The week began with unseasonably mild temperatures with Chariton and Battle Creek reporting Sunday (18th) morning lows of 46 degrees. However, temperatures quickly pushed well above normal over western Iowa by Monday (19th) afternoon and statewide on Tuesday (20th). Highest temperatures were 94 degree readings on Wednesday (21st) at Ankeny and Osceola and a 95 degree maximum at Des Moines on Saturday (24th). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.0 degrees above normal.

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