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Fieldwork advances under dry skies

By Staff | Apr 24, 2009


There were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared to the five-year average, for last week, of 3.5 days.

Topsoil moisture rated 8 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 14 percent surplus across the state.

Subsoil moisture rated 3 percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 18 percent surplus. Although moisture surpluses diminished and shortages increased, reporters rated soil moisture as mostly adequate.

Some reporters commented that rain was needed to stimulate pasture and hay growth. Several reporters noted that conditions were nearly ideal for fieldwork.

Soil tillage was the predominant field activity. Other active chores included tiling, repairing waterways, and fertilizer and chemical applications.

Corn planting accelerated despite cold soil temperatures.

Field crops

Oat seeding advanced to 70 percent complete, well ahead of last year’s 13 percent pace, and 4 days ahead of the five-year average of 60 percent.

Seeding remained active in the Northeastern district, where about one-third of the state’s oat acres are grown. Oat emergence, at 3 percent, equaled last year’s pace, but lagged eight days behind the 16 percent average for this date. Reporters blamed cold soils and moisture shortages for the slow emergence.

Corn planted reached 6 percent, ahead of last year when no corn was in the ground by this date, but behind the five-year average of 10 percent.

Corn planting accelerated throughout the state, led by the north central district, where 9 percent of the acreage is planted.

Fertilizer applications progressed to 74 percent complete, 14 percentage points ahead of last year, and 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average.

Pasture and range report

Pasture and range condition rated 3 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 41 percent fair, 32 percent good and 6 percent excellent.

Reporters say that warmer weather is needed to stimulate pasture and hay growth. In some areas, rain was also needed to promote growth.


The past work week began with cool, damp weather. Highs on April 13 were only in the upper 30s east to low 60s west with light rain, sometimes mixed with snow, falling over the southeast two-thirds of Iowa.

April 14 started cold with morning lows down to 20 degrees at Spencer and Estherville, but afternoon highs reached the low 50s southeast to mid 60′ west.

April 15 and April 16 were dry with highs mostly in the 60s. Friday was the warmest day with highs mostly in the 70s with Cresco and Eldora the warm spots at 74 degrees.

Light rain fell statewide on Saturday, but with a few scattered locations receiving more than one-half inch. Cooler, drier and windier weather moved into Iowa on Sunday, but not before moderate rain of one-half inch to one inch fell over far southeastern areas.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.5 degrees warmer than normal. Precipitation totals varied from only 0.01-inch at Cresco to 1.92 inches at Clinton. The statewide average precipitation was 0.30-inch while normal for the week is 0.80-inch.

Soil temperatures as of Sunday were averaging in the upper 40s over the northeast two-thirds of Iowa and low 50s in the southwest.

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