Des Moines, Iowa — The weekly Iowa crop report from the USDA has no surprises. Farmers have had very little opportunity for field work, they’re way behind compared to last year, and it’s been much colder. But the good news is our moisture is recharging.
In fact, according to the National Drought Monitor, at the end of October of last year, in our four northwesternmost Iowa counties, there were fairly large portions of Lyon and Sioux Counties in the worst category of drought — exceptional drought. The rest of the four-county area was listed in “extreme” drought. Fast forward five and a half months to today — and basically the whole four-county area has improved to the next category, which admittedly is still called “severe drought”. There is just a very small area in the very southwest corner of Sioux County that’s still listed as “extreme”. So it’s still dry, but there’s been marked improvement. The eastern third of the state is no longer experiencing drought of any kind.
In the short term, wet conditions in Iowa during the week ending April 21, 2013 continued to limit fieldwork according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Snow was received in northern Iowa, while precipitation was mostly rain in southern Iowa. The additional moisture did help to improve both top and subsoil moisture levels. Statewide there was an average of 0.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 6 percent short, 60 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 14 percent very short, 32 percent short and 48 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus.
Oat planting was 22 percent complete, far behind last year’s 93 percent and the five-year average of 68 percent.
Pasture and range condition rated 18 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 38 percent fair and 15 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Spring calving losses were higher than normal due to the wet and cool weather.
In fact, Sibley was reported as both the coldest and snowiest in the state this week. While rain fell early in the week for most of Iowa, snow fell in northwest Iowa late Wednesday (17th) through Thursday (18th). The resulting snowfall totals were in the neighborhood of 4-6 inches in northwest Iowa including 8 inches reported over two days, Wednesday (17th) and Thursday (18th), in Sibley. Sibley’s low on Saturday was 11 degrees.
For the whole crops and weather report, visit this story’s page at kiwaradio.com.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
Provided by Allan Curtis, Assistant Climatologist
Midwestern Regional Climate Center
The past week varied greatly across the state for both temperature and precipitation. Precipitation was widespread early in the week, predominantly on Wednesday (17th) and Thursday (18th), with areas in south-central, southeast, and east-central Iowa receiving widespread totals of 4-5 inches or more of rain. The greatest rainfall totals during the week came from Pella with 8.71 inches, and the greatest 1-day total was 6.76 inches in Centerville on Wednesday (17th). While rain fell early in the week for most of Iowa, snow fell in northwest Iowa late Wednesday (17th) through Thursday (18th). The resulting snowfall totals were in the neighborhood of 4-6 inches in northwest Iowa including 8 inches reported over two days, Wednesday (17th) and Thursday (18th), in Sibley. The statewide precipitation for the week was one of the wetter ones in recent history with 2.79 inches, nearly tripling the normal of 0.96 inches.
Temperatures across the state were well below normal with the western half of Iowa taking the brunt of the unseasonably cold temperatures to the tune of 12 to 15 degrees below normal for the week. Statewide, the average temperature was 39.3 degrees, 12.1 degrees below normal. Southeast Iowa was the closest to normal at -8.7 degrees below normal. The worst of the cold came mid-week when large areas of western Iowa saw temperatures as much as 20 degrees below normal. All of the warmest temperatures during the week occurred on Monday (15th) or over the weekend, Saturday (20th) and Sunday (21st), when temperatures were in the mid-70s. The highest temperature was 77 degrees at Mt. Pleasant on Monday (15th) and the lowest temperature was 11 degrees at Sibley on Saturday (20th).
Four inch soil temperatures during week averaged in the upper 30’s in the northwest to the upper 40’s in the southeast as of Sunday (21st). One day soil temperatures, as of Sunday (21st), showed temperatures recovering from the mid-week chill with low 40’s in the northwest ranging to low 50’s in the southeast.