Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report

Written by Theresa Rose on May 14, 2019



Week of May 6-12, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (May 13, 2019) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

“The weather has not been favorable this spring, which is impacting farmers’ productivity in the field. Some parts of the state are four to six days behind this time last year,” said Secretary Naig. “The short-term outlook is trending drier than expected and temperatures should warm up this week. This should create a window of dry weather for farmers to make up ground.”

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s site at


Crop Report

Fieldwork activities were limited as rain across the State held Iowa farmers to just 1.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending May 12, 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Iowa farmers remain hopeful for warmer conditions as below normal temperatures continued to slow crop emergence across the State.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 32 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 33 percent surplus.

Statewide, just 48 percent of the expected corn crop has been planted, 4 days behind last year and just over a week behind the five-year average. This is the smallest percent of corn planted by May 12 since 2013 when just 15 percent of the expected crop had been planted. It is the fifth time in 40 years that less than half the expected crop has been planted by May 12. West central Iowa has the highest percentage of corn planted at 67 percent, while northeast Iowa has the lowest percent of corn planted at 24 percent. Five percent of the crop has emerged, 5 days behind last year and over a week behind average. Thirteen percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, 6 days behind both last year and average. Just 1 percent of the crop has emerged, 2 days behind average. Ninety-one percent of the expected oat crop has been planted, 1 day ahead of last year but 4 days behind average. Fifty-five percent of the crop has emerged, 2 days ahead of last year but a week behind average.

The first hay condition rating of the season was 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 54 percent good and 8 percent excellent. Recent rains helped green up pastures, but growth remained slow due to below normal temperatures across the State. Pasture Condition rated 61 percent good to excellent, equal to last week. Rain this past week resulted in muddy feedlots again.


Preliminary Weather Summary

Provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship


Cooler than normal conditions experienced during the first part of May continued through this reporting period. Average temperatures were eight to ten degrees cooler than average in northwestern Iowa with four to six degree departures over the rest of the state. Wetter than normal conditions were observed in western and northern Iowa with the highest rainfall totals in southwestern Iowa.


Isolated thunderstorms swept across Iowa on Sunday (5th) afternoon into Monday (6th) morning along a cold front moving through the state. There were two reports of one-inch hail in Callender (Webster County) and Elkader (Clayton County). Monday afternoon into evening saw widespread showers and thunderstorms associated with a low pressure system moving through northern Missouri. The highest accumulation reported at 7:00 am Tuesday (7th) morning was 2.11 inches at Keokuk Lock and Dam (Lee County). The average statewide rainfall total was 0.25 inches. High temperatures ranged from the mid to upper 50s west and north to low 70s in the southeast corner of Iowa. Tuesday and Wednesday (8th) marked the wettest period of the week as another low pressure system brought ample rainfall to Iowa. Over 70 stations reported two-day rain totals above 1.00 with all remaining stations reporting measurable rain; the average statewide rain accumulation was 0.63 inches. Little Sioux (Harrison County) observed 2.15 inches.


Thursday (9th) was the coldest day of the week as cold air wrapped around the exiting low pressure. Daytime highs averaged 50 degrees statewide, 20 degrees below average. Cresco (Howard County) observed a high of 44 degrees, 23 degrees below average. Overnight lows into Friday (10th) were 10 degrees below average, at 36 degrees. Mostly sunny and cooler conditions prevailed on Friday with light variable winds generally out of the north and west. Rain showers moved through parts of Iowa over the weekend, with both days experiencing measurable totals. Saturday (11th) began with light showers moving into southern and eastern Iowa before dissipating in the afternoon. Another line of light to moderate showers entered western Iowa ahead of a slow moving cold front. The line continued across the state into Sunday (12th) with most western stations reporting totals between 0.25 inches to under an inch; Denison (Crawford County) reported 0.80 inches. Weekend highs were in the low to mid 50s, 10 to 20 degrees below average.


Weekly rainfall totals ranged from 0.38 inches in Davenport (Scott County) to 2.90 inches in Shenandoah (Page County). The statewide average precipitation for the week was slightly above the average of 1.00 inches at 1.20 inches. Temperatures also averaged 51.2 degrees, around seven degrees below normal. The week’s high temperature of 80 degrees was observed at Keokuk Lock and Dam (Lee County) on the 6th, nine degrees warmer than average. Sibley (Osceola County) reported the week’s low temperature of 30 degrees on the 10th, 13 degrees below average.