Weather keeps farmers out of the fields | Agriculture

DES MOINES – Snow, rain, and cold conditions limited Iowa farmers to 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sunday, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Those who have been able to do any fieldwork have been applying anhydrous and fertilizer, spreading manure and planting oats.

Caleb Hamer, left, and Scott Beenken, co-owners of B&H Ag Services, do maintenance work on a corn planter in preparation for the spring planting season in March 2021.

Chris Zoeller Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

“A stagnant weather pattern across the upper Midwest has brought persistent light rain and snow to portions of Iowa over the past week,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “As farmers are eager to begin fieldwork, colder conditions have hindered their efforts. The additional moisture, however, will be beneficial for the upcoming growing season.”

Topsoil moisture levels rated 7% very short, 21% short, 65% adequate and 7% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 11% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate and 2% surplus.

Thirteen percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 5 days behind last year and 2 days behind the 5-year average. There were scattered reports of oats beginning to emerge.

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Below-normal temperatures meant pastures remained mostly dormant. Livestock conditions were generally good although cold temperatures and moisture have been a challenge for some cattle producers as calving continues.

Weather summary

The damp and gloomy conditions that persisted through most of the reporting period finally broke toward the end of the week, reported, Justin Glisan, state climatologist with Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Unseasonably cold temperatures continued across Iowa with the statewide average temperature at 40.7 degrees, 3.6 degrees below normal. The cutoff low pressure system that stagnated the weather pattern over the Upper Midwest also brought rounds of showers, both rain and snow, though much of the state experienced precipitation deficits between 0.40 to 0.60 inch.

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from trace amounts at several stations to 1.54 inches at Maquoketa (Jackson County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.32 inch while the normal is 0.65 inch.


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