Iowa Crops and Weather Report

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Tuesday (July 5) on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

“Spotty rains and cooler temperatures were welcomed across the state this past week, but many areas, especially in south-central and southwest Iowa remain quite dry. Statewide 33 percent of topsoil and 24 percent of subsoil is rated as short of very short of moisture,” 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:


Spotty precipitation brought relief to some while missing other areas entirely in Iowa during the week ending July 3, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included cutting hay, hauling grain and spraying beans.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 8 percent very short, 25 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 20 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. South central and southeast Iowa continued to have the lowest levels of topsoil moisture in the State with two-thirds short to very short this week.

Six percent of the corn crop had reached the silking stage, with 79 percent of the crop rated good to excellent. Soybeans blooming reached 20 percent, 2 days ahead of last year and the 5-year average. There were scattered reports of soybeans setting pods. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent this week. Oat acreage headed reached 95 percent. Oats turning color reached 51 percent, 5 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of normal. Harvesting oats for grain or seed has begun in some areas. Oat crop condition rated 80 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 48 percent, 2 weeks ahead of last year and 10 days ahead of normal. Hay condition was rated at 71 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition declined from last week, rating 64 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal although some producers may need to supplement water in pastures due to low creek levels.


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

Iowa received a welcome break from the heat this past week. Temperatures were above normal across most of the state on Monday (27th) but were below normal for the remainder of the period, particularly over the weekend. Donnellson recorded a high of 95 degrees on Monday while much of southern Iowa saw daytime high temperatures only in the mid-sixties on both Saturday (2nd) and Sunday (3rd). Lowest minimum temperatures were 47 degree readings at Elkader on Wednesday (29th) morning and at Cresco, Elkader and Estherville on Sunday (3rd) morning. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 6 to 8 degrees below normal over the northeast to 2 to 3 degrees subnormal over the far southwest with a statewide average of 5.6 degrees less than normal. Rainfall amounts were highly variable, but in a reverse from recent weeks were generally greatest over the southwest and least in the northeast. There were some isolated thunderstorms over southwestern Iowa on Monday (27th) evening, including some that brought a destructive combination of high winds and hail to portions of Mills and Fremont counties. Thunderstorms covered parts of western Iowa on Wednesday (29th) with some damaging wind and hail in portions of Harrison and Pottawattamie counties. Thunderstorms were scattered over much of the state on Thursday (30th) with a band of heavy rain centered over Carroll where 3.83 inches of rain fell in the pre-dawn hours. Friday (1st) was dry in most areas while Saturday (2nd) brought widespread rain to southern and southwestern Iowa with heaviest rains in parts of Mills and Montgomery counties. The reporting week ended with mostly dry weather on Sunday (3rd). Rain totals for the week varied from only sprinkles at Pocahontas and Dyersville to 4.20 inches near Hastings in Mills County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.70 inches while normal for the week is 1.11 inches.