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Warm and dry weather needed to dry Iowa fields

Published: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 11:25 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:00 p.m. CST

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Monday on the Iowa crop progress and condition weekly report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. 

“Strong storms and wet fields continue to stress some crops and create challenges for famers needing to make hay, spray weeds or side-dress fertilizer,” Northey said. 

“Fortunately, much of the crop remains in pretty good condition, but needs some warm and dry weather to help dry fields.”

The report summary follows here:

Above average precipitation in Iowa limited fieldwork yet again during the week ending July 6 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were just 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork, the third week in a row with less than 3.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Weed control and nitrogen side-dressing were behind due to wet conditions and the inability to get equipment through fields. Many producers reported yellowing corn and stress on soybeans due to excessive moisture. 

Precipitation raised soil moisture levels marginally this week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 61 percent adequate, and 37 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 67 percent adequate, and 25 percent surplus. Over one-quarter of the State’s topsoil remained in surplus condition, with the exception of southeast Iowa. 

There were scattered reports of corn silking across Iowa. Seventy-six percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition, a decrease of 3 percentage points. Twenty-one percent of the soybean acreage was blooming, 11 days ahead of the previous year but 2 days behind normal. A few farmers reported soybeans setting pods. Decreasing 2 percentage points from the previous week, 73 percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition. Ninety-five percent of the oat crop has headed, 2 percentage points above last year but equal to the five-year average. Thirty-one percent of the oat acreage has turned color, 10 percentage points ahead of the previous year but 15 points behind average. Seventy-three percent of the oat acreage was reported in good to excellent condition, dropping 1 percentage point from last week. 

Farmers struggled to get their first cutting of alfalfa hay baled, advancing only five percentage points from last week. The first cutting of alfalfa hay was 95 percent complete, falling slightly behind both last year and average. The second cutting of alfalfa was 12 percent complete, two days ahead of last year but almost two weeks behind normal. Sixty-seven percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition. Pasture condition rated 74 percent good to excellent. Stress on livestock increased toward the week’s end with the high humidity and heat.