DES MOINES - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey Monday 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.
"Iowa has seen some welcome relief with cooler weather and light precipitation for much of the state. Soybean condition improved for the first time in nearly two months," Northey said. "But, more moisture is needed as crops remain stressed."
Iowa saw a mix of cooler temperatures and widespread rainfall during the week. Rainfall amounts varied widely with the heaviest precipitation in northeast and southwest Iowa. The week's activities included spraying crops, harvesting oats, cutting hay and chopping corn.
There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 60 percent very short, 31 percent short, 9 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture is rated at 70 percent very short, 26 percent short, 4 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.
Ninety-four percent of the corn crop has reached the milk stage, ahead of last year's 81 percent and the five-year average of 73 percent. Eighty percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, well ahead of last year's 43 percent and the five-year average of 37 percent. Forty-five percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, almost two weeks ahead of normal. Seven percent of the corn crop is now mature, almost three weeks ahead of normal. Corn condition declined slightly and now is reported at 22 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 15 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. Pods are being set on 88 percent of the soybean crop. Soybean condition improved for the first time in seven weeks and now is rated 14 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 24 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 88 percent complete, is a month ahead of normal.
Only 14 percent of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition rated 59 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 11 percent fair, 3 percent good and 0 percent excellent. Livestock experienced little to no stress due to seasonable weather during the week.