Not Much Field Work In Iowa Yet

Date posted - April 7, 2016

Statewide Iowa — The first weekly Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service for the 2016 growing season has been released. During the off season, crop reports drop back to being issued monthly, but starting in the first week of April, they are issued weekly.
soybean stubble
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says that some farmers have been able to get a start on spring field work, but it is quite limited due to the wet conditions. He says the state is probably still a week or two away from widespread planting and he says we will need some warm, dry weather before farmers are able to get started statewide. He says, “It is an exciting time on the farm as farmers are looking forward to the new growing season.”

 The report summary follows here:


Cool temperatures and rain hampered field work during the week ending April 3, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork. However the northern one-third of Iowa, as well as the southeast corner, had less than 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Producers continued to apply dry fertilizer, manure, and anhydrous when able.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa reported the highest surplus subsoil moisture level at 26 percent, with standing water in some low areas.

Thirteen percent of oats have been planted, equal to last year’s progress, but 3 days behind the 5-year average.

Pasture condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 49 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Pastures were starting to green but reporters haven’t seen much growth yet. Livestock conditions were described as normal for the week. Calving and lambing activities were on-going.


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

Iowa experienced a fairly typical early spring week with widely fluctuating temperatures, frequent windy conditions and occasional showers and thunderstorms. The reporting week began with temperatures in the twenties and low thirties on Monday (28th) morning with lowest readings down to 20 degrees at Audubon, Chariton and Grinnell. Tuesday (29th) was warmer with showers and thunderstorms moving into northwest Iowa during the afternoon. Rain and cloud cover kept northern Iowa cool and damp on Wednesday (30th) while temperatures climbed into the seventies over the south where thunderstorm activity was more scattered. Some large hail was reported from a few areas of west central and central Iowa on Wednesday evening as colder air moved into the area. Thursday (31st) was seasonably cool with light to moderate rain statewide. Mostly cloudy skies, with some light rain, kept highs only in the forties over most Iowa on Friday (1st).Saturday (2nd) was sunny, cold and very windy. High temperatures Saturday were only in the upper thirties over northern areas while winds gusted to over 50 mph across the state with a top wind gust of 60 mph recorded at the Ottumwa Airport.Sunday (3rd) began cold with temperatures as low as 21 degrees at Britt. However, strong southerly winds gusting over 40 mph brought much warmer air into the state during the day on Sunday with temperatures soaring forty to fifty degrees above the morning lows by the afternoon. Little Sioux reported the state’s highest temperature at 85 degrees with all of Iowa reaching at least the mid-seventies. Much colder air began filtering into the state later Sunday with a few isolated thunderstorms during the evening with a wind gust to 70 mph at the Iowa City Airport. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.3 degrees above normal (slightly cooler in the east and warmer in the west). Weekly precipitation totals varied from only 0.02 inches near New Market in Taylor County to 1.66 inches near Badger in Webster County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.68 inches, or just slightly greater than the weekly normal of 0.62 inches. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth were averaging in the low forties northeast to upper forties southwest as of Sunday (3rd).

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at or on USDA’s site at

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