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Secretary comments on Iowa crops report

Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:16 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Monday on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. 

“Farmers continue to make planting progress as the weather allows, with 84 percent of the corn and 40 percent of the soybeans in the ground,” Northey said.  “Planting progress remains behind the five-year average for both corn and beans, so farmers remain anxious to take advantage of every opportunity to get in the field.”

Storms early in the week slowed fieldwork during the week ending May 18, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Average temperatures were several degrees below normal and frost was seen across most of the state. Other activities for the week included tiling and spraying. 

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 9 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 25 percent short, 62 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. 

Eighty-four percent of the expected corn acreage has been planted, 21 percentage points ahead of last year but 4 percentage points less than the five year average. With oat planting nearing completion, 81 percent of the oat acreage had emerged, ahead of last year’s 67 percent, but 8 percentage points behind average. The season’s first oat condition ratings came in at 0 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 46 percent fair, 44 percent good, and 7 percent excellent. 

Limited alfalfa hay has been cut, with widespread cutting expected to begin in the next week.