Iowa Crops and Weather Report – April 16

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today commented 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.


“An eventful weather week brought severe weather and significant snowfall to the state and continues to keep farmers from spring fieldwork. The weather is also challenge for livestock farmers caring for new calves and anticipating spring pasture growth.  We are starting to see cover crops green up and will even more if we get some warmer temperatures and sunshine,” Naig said.


The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at or on USDA’s site at  The report summary follows here:




As cold, wet weather persisted yet another week, statewide Iowa farmers had only 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending April 15, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. When conditions allowed, farmers in the southern two-thirds of the State were busy applying fertilizer and seeding oats with isolated reports of tillage.


Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 70 percent adequate and 22 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 12 percent short, 74 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Recent heavy snow and rain have left northern Iowa with surplus soil moisture.


Twelve percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 9 days behind last year and 10 days behind the 5-year average. While one-quarter of the oats have been planted in east central and southwest Iowa, northwest and north central Iowa have yet to get planting underway.


Livestock producers continue to experience challenges with snowfall and below normal temperatures stalling spring pasture growth and making tending to calves difficult throughout much of the State.




By Michael Timlin, Regional Climatologist, Midwestern Regional Climate Center


Temperatures were below normal across the state, with readings more below normal further to the north. Precipitation was well above normal along the northern border and below normal along the southern border. Temperatures ranged from about 3 degrees cooler than normal in the south to as much as 12 degrees cooler than normal in the north. Freezing temperatures were recorded statewide in the first couple days of the week and then again for all but the southeast counties on the morning of the 15th. Minimum temperatures were above freezing on the 12th through the 14th for much of the state. Warm daytime temperatures pushed into the southern half of the state with a handful of 80 degree readings in southwestern Iowa. The warmest reading was 85 degrees on the 14th in Sidney. The coldest readings of the week were in northeastern Iowa on the 9th when Waukon fell to 4 degrees and Cresco fell to 8 degrees. Many northern Iowa stations recorded lows in the teens and below freezing highs during the week. Soil temperatures in the south climbed above 40 degrees but remained near freezing in the northwest. Precipitation totals ranged up to 3.91 inches in Spirit Lake and topped 3 inches at a handful of northern stations. Along the western and southern borders of the state, precipitations totals of less than a quarter inch were reported at multiple stations. Snow also was reported statewide, with totals exceeding a foot at some stations in northwestern and north central parts of the state. Spirit Lake reported 20.1 inches in the 7-day period. Storms on the 13th brought large hail and strong winds to Iowa. Hail reports up to 2 inches in diameter and wind damage reports to buildings and vehicles stretched between the southwest and northeast corners of the state.