Iowa Crops and Weather

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

“The cooler temperatures we saw last week were welcome, but the lack of significant rainfall means drought conditions remain in place for many parts of Iowa, with severe drought in much of south-central and southeast Iowa,” Northey said.


All of Iowa experienced cooler than normal temperatures and most of the state received below normal precipitation during the week ending Aug. 6, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included applying fungicides and insecticides, hauling grain and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels declined to 24 percent very short, 32 percent short, 44 percent adequate and zero percent surplus. According to the Aug. 1, U.S. Drought Monitor, Iowa’s region of severe drought expanded to include 16 counties in south-central and southeast Iowa. Subsoil moisture levels rated 19 percent very short, 32 percent short, 48 percent adequate and one percent surplus.

Ninety-five percent of Iowa’s corn crop has reached the silking stage, five days ahead of the five-year average. Forty-two percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage, four days behind last year. Corn condition declined to 2 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 53 percent good and 11 percent excellent. Soybeans blooming reached 89 percent, one week behind last year and three days behind average. Two-thirds of soybeans were setting pods, five days behind last year but equal to average. Soybean condition rated 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 50 percent good and 9 percent excellent. Eighty-eight percent of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, one-day ahead of average.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 38 percent complete, three days ahead of average. Hay condition dropped to 51 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition also dropped to 34 percent good to excellent. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions, but supplemental feeding has been required in some areas.


It was an unseasonably cool week across Iowa but with less than normal rainfall over most of the state. Temperatures were near normal on Aug. 1-2 and well below normal for the remainder of the reporting week. Highs reached into the low 90s over far southeast Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday but failed to climb out of the 60s over far northwest Iowa on Aug. 3 and over much of the western one-third of the state on Aug. 5. Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Wednesday afternoon high of 93 degrees at Donnellson to morning lows of 46 degrees at several northwest Iowa locations on Aug. 4 morning and scattered locations over the southeast one-half of the state on Aug. 5 morning. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 4.6 degrees below normal. Most of the week’s rain fell on Thursday when thunderstorms dampened all but extreme southeast Iowa. There were some scattered showers on Tuesday over central and northwestern Iowa and some isolated thunderstorms over east-central Iowa on Wednesday. Finally, some light rain fell across about the southwest one-half of the state on Aug. 5. Only a few locations received more than an inch of rain during the week, mostly in west-central and northeast Iowa. Guthrie Center reported the most rain with 1.76 inches while Burlington, Donnellson and Davenport had no rain. The statewide average precipitation was 0.41 inches, or less than one-half of the weekly normal of 0.96 inches.