Planting Stays Ahead Of Schedule Despite Weather Delays

Des Moines, Iowa — Weather kept farmers out of the fields much of last week, but the latest crop report shows planting is still on schedule.

file photo
file photo

The report shows 92-percent of the corn has been planted, which is six days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the five-year average. Northwest Iowa stayed ahead of the pace — with 98-percent of the corn planting there complete. Southwest Iowa lags behind the state average with just 75-percent of the corn crop in. Sixty-three-percent of the corn has emerged, which is one week ahead of last year and five days ahead of normal.

Soybean planting crossed the halfway point at 51-percent complete — three-days days ahead of last year and two days ahead of the average.

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


Wet and windy conditions slowed planting for Iowa farmers during the week ending May 17, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Operators reported the wet weather led to standing water in some fields and the wind halted spraying activity.

Topsoil moisture increased slightly to 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels also increased and now stand at 1 percent very short, 8 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. North central and southwest Iowa reported the highest topsoil levels with 100 and 99 percent rated adequate to surplus, respectively. Southwest Iowa reported the highest subsoil moisture level at 99 percent rated adequate to surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has been planted, 6 days ahead last year, and 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. Southwest Iowa is still lagging behind with just 75 percent planted, compared to northwest Iowa, where 98 percent of the corn was in the ground. Corn reached 63 percent emerged, just over one week ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of normal. Soybean planting reached 51 percent complete, 3 days ahead of 2014, and 2 days ahead of the average. Only 17 percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted in southwest Iowa, with south central Iowa the next lowest at 40 percent complete. With nearly all the State’s oat crop planted, oats emerged reached 92 percent, 8 days ahead of last year, and 5 days ahead of normal. Oat condition ratings improved slightly with 81 percent rated good to excellent.

Limited progress has been made on the first cutting of alfalfa hay due to the cool, wet weather. Hay conditions now rate 80 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition also improved to 70 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as mostly normal with a majority of cattle being turned onto pasture. Some cattle lots were described as messy or muddy. Meanwhile, poultry producers across the State continue to discuss the effects of avian influenza.



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

The past week began with widespread light to moderate rain from Sunday (10th) afternoon into Monday (11th) morning. Tuesday (12th) was dry while rain moved back into western Iowa Wednesday (13th) night. Rain fell over most of the state on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the greatest amounts falling over west central and southwest Iowa. Finally, there were a few showers and thunderstorms on Sunday(17th). Rain totals for the week ranged from 0.45 inches at the Cedar Rapids Airport to 4.45 inches at the Audubon Airport. The statewide average precipitation was 1.32 inches while normal for the week is 1.05 inches. Meanwhile, cooler than normal weather prevailed from Monday through Thursday, with the coolest weather on Monday when highs were only in the mid-forties over northwest Iowa. Much warmer and more humid weather quickly returned for the weekend before a cold front swept across the state on Sunday. Temperature extremes ranged from a Tuesday morning low of 33 degrees at Elkader to afternoon highs of 83 degrees at Davenport and Maquoketa on Saturday (16th) and at Bellevue and Clinton on Sunday afternoon (17th). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.4 degrees above normal. Severe thunderstorms were scattered across portions of northwest and west central Iowa on Sunday (10th) with greatest damage from high winds, large hail and a tornado in Calhoun County. There were also a few reports of damaging winds in central and south central Iowa early Sunday (17th) morning.



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