Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig Monday commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

“The dry conditions and warmer temperature allowed many farmers to get into the field,” said Naig. “With favorable weather conditions ahead, we expect farmers to make measureable progress this week.”


Crop report

It was mostly a dry week with spotty rains throughout the state during the week ending April 21, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

Statewide there were 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork, which was two more days than the previous week. 

Warmer temperatures and drier conditions increased fieldwork activities, which included anhydrous and fertilizer applications, tillage, seeding oats and planting corn.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 24 percent surplus. 

Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 0 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus.

Forty-eight percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, six days ahead of last year but five days behind the five-year average. 

Less than a quarter of the expected oats have been planted in northwest and north central Iowa, while all the other districts had at least 25-percentage-point increases in their expected oats planted.

Pasture condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 44 percent good and 9 percent excellent. 

Pastures continue to green gradually, and there were few comments of cattle being turned out to pastures as grazing may hurt the already slow growth. 

Warmer temperatures have improved livestock conditions and helped dry out feedlots.


Weather summary

Iowa experienced an unseasonably dry week with temperatures generally above average by a few degrees; eastern Iowa observed near to slightly below average temperatures. 

Monday, April 15 was sunny across Iowa with southerly winds boosting daytime highs into the upper 60s to the lower 70s in the state’s southern half. 

Warm conditions continued into Tuesday as a warm front lifted across southern Iowa ahead of a low pressure system. Highs again reached into the low to mid 70s across southern Iowa, between 12 to 15 degrees above average.

A strong cold front moved through Iowa on Wednesday, firing off isolated severe thunderstorms in central and eastern Iowa. 

Measurable rain fell across much of Iowa with locations in the eastern third reporting totals between 0.20 – 0.60 inches.

Temperatures cooled behind the frontal passage on Thursday. Statewide highs were in the 50s with lower 60s reported in central Iowa; these temperatures averaged six degrees below normal. 

Sunny skies returned for much of Iowa on Friday and continued into the weekend. 

Saturday was warm and pleasant with highs in the low 70s east to low 80s west. 

Easter Sunday was the week’s warmest day. Mostly sunny skies prevailed with highs climbing into the low to mid 80s.

Statewide precipitation for the week averaged 0.18 inches, well below the normal of 0.96 inches.  

As of Sunday, four-inch soil temperatures were in the mid to upper 50s statewide.

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