Iowa Crops and Weather Report

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Monday (July 18) on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

“In general crops remain in good condition with 81 percent of corn and 80 percent of soybeans rated in good or excellent condition. Many parts of the state have received timely rains, which is very good news with an extended period of high temperatures in the forecast,” 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:


Timely rains this week were beneficial to crops. Statewide there were 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending July 17, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. However, there were isolated reports of damage to crops and buildings caused by high winds and hail. Activities for the week included cutting hay and applying fungicide to corn.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

Sixty-seven percent of the corn crop had reached the silking stage, five days ahead of last year and a week ahead of average. Across the State there were scattered reports of corn reaching the dough stage. Corn condition improved slightly to 81 percent good to excellent. Soybeans blooming reached 66 percent and soybean setting pods reached 20 percent. Both of these soybean stages were 4 days ahead of 2015 and 5 days ahead of normal. Soybean condition rated 80 percent good to excellent this week. Oat acreage turning color or beyond reached 91 percent, with 35 percent of the oat crop harvested for grain or seed, 4 days ahead of last year. Oat crop condition rated 79 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 79 percent, 10 days ahead of normal. The third cutting of alfalfa hay became more widespread this week. Hay condition was rated at 74 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition rated 61 percent good to excellent. Livestock saw some stress due to heat and humidity as well as overgrazed pastures in some parts of the State.


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

The past reporting week began with very warm and humid conditions and widespread rain fall. Monday (11th) was the warmest day of the reporting week with daytime high temperatures in the upper eighties to mid-nineties. Thunderstorms were widespread from Monday (11th) evening through Tuesday (12th) morning with heaviest rainfall in the southwest where one to two inch amounts common. Thunderstorms were again widespread on Wednesday as a cold front moved across the state. The greatest rainfall on Wednesday was from Des Moines eastward along the I-80 corridor with amounts around an inch. Mostly dry weather, with much lower temperatures and humidity, prevailed from Thursday through Saturday (16th). Finally, much higher humidity moved back into Iowa Saturday night and Sunday (17th) with the moisture surge bringing rain statewide early Sunday (17th) morning with two to three inch rain totals common from the Iowa Great Lakes region eastward to the Mason City and Decorah areas. Rain totals for the week varied from only 0.10 inches at Rock Rapids to 4.38 inches near Storm Lake and 4.28 inches at Lake Mills. The statewide average precipitation was 1.65 inches or well above the weekly normal of 1.05 inches. Temperature extremes ranged from a Monday (11th) afternoon high of 94 degrees at Des Moines to a Saturday (16th) morning low of 49 degrees at Elkader. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.1 degrees below normal. Finally, each of the rain events this week brought severe weather to the state as well. Monday (11th) evening and night saw numerous reports of high winds, especially over west central Iowa. Wednesday (13th) saw several reports of large hail in northwestern and west central Iowa and numerous high wind reports along and near I-80 in central and east central Iowa. Finally, the most damaging weather of the week came with a derecho which entered the northwest corner of Iowa about 1 a.m. Sunday (17th) and finally exited the state in the Quad Cities area about five and one-half hours later.