Rain, snow delay seedbed prep
Cold, wet weather conditions limited field work as Spring continued its slow arrival in Iowa. Primary activities included discing stalks, applying fertilizer, seeding oats, and repairing tile lines and waterways where conditions permitted.
There were 1.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared to just 0.3 day last year at this time. Fields were dry enough to allow 4.1 days of field work in the Southwestern district, while farmers in the West central district were able to work an average of 3.2 days in their fields.
Topsoil moisture rated 1 percent short, 64 percent adequate, and 35 percent surplus across the state. Subsoil moisture rated 1 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 30 percent surplus.
Field crops report
Oat seeding was 8 percent complete, ahead of last year’s 2 percent progress, but behind the five-year average of 17 percent. Fertilizer application, at 47 percent, was 6 percentage points behind last year and 8 percentage points behind the five-year average.
Pasture and range report
Iowa’s pasture and range conditions rated 9 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 27 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Some pastures have greened-up, but growth has been limited by cool temperatures.
Many pastures remain dormant. Calving conditions have been mostly good despite muddy conditions in many pastures.
The past week was slightly cooler than normal with locally heavy snowfall over portions of Iowa over the weekend. The work week began with mild weather on March 30 with showers and thunderstorms bringing light precipitation statewide Monday night into March 31).
Temperatures reached 68 degrees on March 30 at Leon, Little Sioux and Glenwood. However, a strong cold front pushed through the state on Tuesday with temperatures remaining below normal for most of the remainder of the week.
Temperatures fell into the upper teens in a few northern and western areas on the mornings of April 2, 3 and 6.
Audubon, Guthrie Center, Sheldon and Spencer reported the week’s lowest temperatures with 18 degree readings on Friday.
Light rain, mixed with a few snow showers, dampened the southeast one-half of Iowa on March 31.
However, the main event of the week was a strong late-winter storm over the weekend. Rain and snow moved into western Iowa Saturday morning with all of the state seeing precipitation by Sunday afternoon.
Snowfall of 4 to 7 inches, with local amounts to 10 inches, fell from west central Iowa to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area. A second area, far northwest Iowa, saw
4 to 6 inches of snow. High winds prevailed statewide throughout the weekend. Precipitation totals for the week varied from only 0.02 inches near Oskaloosa to 1.95 inches at Little Sioux.
The statewide average precipitation was 0.47 inches while normal for the week is 0.68 inches. Air temperatures averaged 2.4 degrees below normal.
Soil temperatures as of Sunday were averaging only in the mid 30s northwest to low 40s southeast.
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