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Monday, May 2, 2016

Contact: Dustin Vande Hoef
515/281-3375 or 515/326-1616 (cell)


DES MOINES – 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.

“The rain last week certainly slowed planting progress, but farmers were still able to plant 17 percent of the corn crop and remain ahead of the 5-year average with 57 percent now in the ground.  It will take a few days for many parts of the state to dry back out, but with warmer temperatures and dryer weather forecasted, many farmers will be hoping to be back planting by the end of the week,” Northey said. 

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:


Although some fieldwork was done early in the week, as the week progressed rains halted planting across much of Iowa for the week ending May 1, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Cool and wet weather slowed crop emergence, and many reports indicate tile lines have been running steady.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 25 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 15 percent surplus. The western third of Iowa reported 20 percent or more with surplus subsoil moisture.

Statewide, just 17 percent of the corn crop was planted during the past week. But with 57 percent of the crop planted, progress remained 1 day ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the 5-year average. Farmers in north central and central Iowa have already planted over three-quarters of their corn crop. Seven percent of the soybean acreage has been planted, 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. Ninety-six percent of the State’s oat crop has been planted, 2 days ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of normal. Oats emerged reached 68 percent, 4 days ahead of the previous year and 8 days ahead of the average. The season’s first oat condition rating came in at 0 percent very poor, 1 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 61 percent good, and 10 percent excellent.

The first hay condition rating of the season was 0 percent very poor, 1 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 59 percent good, and 11 percent excellent. Pasture condition rated 65 percent good to excellent, while some reports indicated low-lying pastures were saturated with some flooding. Livestock conditions were reported as tough with windy, wet, and cool weather leaving feedlots saturated.


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

The past week brought more than twice as much rain as any other week thus far in 2016. A statewide average of 2.24 inches of rain fell compared to the weekly normal of 0.97 inches. Rain totals varied from 0.74 inches at Marquette to 4.99 inches at Alta. Monday (25th) and Friday (29th) were mostly dry while rain was heaviest on Wednesday (27th) and Saturday (30th). As was the case the previous week, rains were heaviest over the west one-half of Iowa (2 to 4 inches common) and lowest over the east (mostly in the 1 to 2 inch range). Monday (25th) was the warmest day with high temperatures ranging from the upper fifties northwest to lower eighties southeast. Temperatures on Tuesday were near seasonal with highs mostly in the sixties while unseasonably cool and cloudy weather prevailed for the remainder of the week. Temperature extremes ranged from a Monday (25th) afternoon high of 85 degrees at Donnellson to morning lows of 36 degrees at Sheldon on Tuesday, Milford on Thursday and also Sibley and Northwood on Friday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.8 degrees below normal. A narrow line of thunderstorms brought hail and high winds to northwest Iowa on Sunday (24th) evening, roughly between Sioux City and Estherville. Also, four short-lived tornadoes, plus some hail, occurred over southwest Iowa on Wednesday (27th). These were the only dates in April with severe thunderstorms reported in Iowa. Finally, soil temperatures at the four inch depth were averaging in the mid-forties northwest to just over 50 degrees over the far southeast.



Mailing Address: IDALS,  Wallace State Office Building,   502 E. 9th Street,  Des Moines, IA 50319:     PH: 515-281-5321
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