Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service.  The report is released weekly from April through October.

“Farmers took full advantage of the good weather last week and in the five days that were suitable for fieldwork were able to plant more than 9 million acres of the 23 million acres of our state that will be devoted to corn and soybeans again this year,” Northey said.  “Planting progress remains behind the five year average and hopefully dryer weather will return to allow farmers to finish getting crops in the ground.”

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


Iowa farmers made significant progress planting crops during the week ending May 19, 2013 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. The best weather of year for fieldwork allowed producers to rapidly advance their planting pace, especially for corn. The good weather held in most areas till late in the week, when severe storms were seen across much of Iowa. There was an average of 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, over twice the days suitable for fieldwork in any previous week this year.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. Statewide, subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 13 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus, although ratings in Northwest Iowa still show nearly 30 percent in the short to very short categories.

By the end of the week, 71 percent of Iowa’s corn acreage had been planted, an increase of 56 percentage points from last week. Even though farmers planted at a near record pace, progress still lags behind last year’s 97 percent and the five-year average of 92 percent. Thirteen percent of the corn crop has emerged, well behind last year’s 77 percent and the normal of 58 percent. Soybean planting was 16 percent complete, behind last year’s 78 percent and the five-year average of 59 percent. One percent of the soybean crop has emerged. Oat planting, at 98 percent, was nearly complete and 71 percent of the crop has emerged. Oat condition was rated 0 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 61 percent good and 6 percent excellent.

Pasture and range conditions continued to show improvement and were rated 3 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 45 percent good and 9 percent excellent. Hay supplies were still tight across Iowa.


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

Iowa received a welcome break from the recent wet weather with mostly dry weather prevailing from Sunday (12th) through Wednesday (15th). However, far southeast Iowa saw some light rain Wednesday night while rain was scattered over much of the state Thursday afternoon to Friday morning. Locally heavy rain fell across portions of extreme northern Iowa Thursday night. Dry weather again prevailed through most of the day on Friday and through Saturday. Thunderstorms brought rain to most of Iowa Sunday (19th) morning. Widespread thunderstorm activity, with numerous severe storms, impacted the state Sunday afternoon and Sunday night, however, this latest activity will be included in next week’s summary. Rain totals for the week through 7 a.m. Sunday varied from none across portions of central and east central Iowa at locations such as Perry, Des Moines, Maquoketa and Davenport to 3.80 inches at Lake Mills. The statewide average precipitation was 0.56 inches or about one-half the weekly normal of 1.05 inches. Temperatures were well below normal Monday (13th) morning with several record low temperatures set over eastern Iowa with the cold spot at Elkader with a 27 degree reading. However, much warmer air quickly returned by Monday afternoon with Sioux City reporting Iowa’s first ninety degree temperature of the year. Exceptionally hot air prevailed on Tuesday (14th) with all but a small area of southeast Iowa climbing to ninety degrees or higher. Triple-digit temperatures prevailed over the northwest with Sioux City reaching 106 degrees. This was a new record high for the month of May at Sioux City and only during the last three days of 1934 has any location in Iowa seen higher temperatures during the month. Clinton followed a daily record low of 33 degrees on May 13 with a new record high on the 14th at 93 degrees. Their sixty degree rise in temperatures tied for the largest day-to-day increase in temperatures at that location among 121 years of record at that location (for any time of the year). Temperatures for the remainder of the week were not as warm, but were still well above normal readings for the season with highs mostly in the 80’s. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 8.4 degrees above normal.