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Rain and Warm Temps Benefit Iowa Hay and Pastures
Iowa Ag Connection - 05/15/2018

Iowa farmers were held to 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork after storms left measurable rainfall across much of the State during the week ending Sunday, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 6 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 23 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 10 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 17 percent surplus. Intermittent rain interrupted fieldwork and planting activities in portions of the State, but recent rains have failed to relieve the dry soil conditions in the southern one-third of the State.

Iowa growers have planted 65 percent of the expected corn crop, 4 days ahead of last year. While the southern two-thirds of the state already has 79 percent or more of the corn crop planted, north central has almost three-quarters of the crop left to be planted. Twenty-six percent of the crop has emerged. Soybean growers have 33 percent of the expected crop in the ground, led by farmers in southeast Iowa who have planted almost two-thirds of their expected crop. Five percent of the crop has emerged. Ninety-two percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 1 week behind last year and 3 days behind the five-year average. Sixty-one percent of the crop has emerged, 6 days behind last year, and 5 days behind the average.

Rain and warm temperatures have benefited hay acreage and pasture conditions statewide. The first hay condition rating of the season was 4 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 45 percent good and 12 percent excellent. Pasture condition rated 49 percent good to excellent, an increase of 9 percentage points from the previous week. Cattle and sheep are grazing on permanent pastures in many areas and farmers are waiting for drier conditions to take their first cutting of hay for the year.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naigcommented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

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