Dry weather continued across most of Iowa during the week ending July 14, 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. The only significant precipitation was received in the north central and northeast portions of the state. The dry weather was good for putting up hay and applying herbicides, but crops are beginning to need additional moisture. Statewide there was an average of 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork, the most this crop year. Northeast Iowa had only 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork, while in South Central Iowa the entire week was suitable for fieldwork.
The warm and dry weather led to a decline in soil moisture levels. Statewide, 65 percent of topsoil is in the adequate and surplus categories, a 23 percentage point decline from last week and 84 percent of subsoil is in the adequate and surplus categories, down 12 percentage points from last week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 30 percent short, 61 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus.
Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 15 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Five percent of the corn crop had tasseled, well behind last year’s 83 percent and the five-year average of 42 percent. Scattered reports of the corn crop beginning to silk were received. Corn condition was rated 4 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 45 percent good and 12 percent excellent.
Thirteen percent of the soybean crop is blooming, lagging behind last year’s 71 percent and two weeks behind normal. Soybean condition was rated 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 46 percent good and 12 percent excellent.
Forty-five percent of the oat crop has turned color, behind last year’s 97 percent and the five-year average of 74 percent. Oat harvest has begun across most of the State.
The 2nd cutting of alfalfa is 27 percent complete, behind the five-year average of 52 percent. Hay condition was rated at 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 52 percent good and 14 percent excellent. Pasture conditions were beginning to deteriorate as continued warm and dry conditions have limited the growth of grasses. Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 48 percent good and 12 percent excellent.