Written by Theresa Rose on May 5, 2015

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

“Conditions were nearly ideal in much of the state last week and as a result farmers were able to make tremendous progress. As of Sunday, 68 percent of corn and 11 percent of soybeans have been planted, both ahead of the five-year average,” Northey 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:


Dry weather allowed Iowa farmers to make excellent progress in spring planting during the week ending May 3, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Although the primary activity during the week was planting, other activities included fertilizer and herbicide application, as well as seedbed preparation.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 11 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 13 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus. North central Iowa reported the highest topsoil moisture level with 99 percent rated adequate to surplus, while southwest Iowa recorded the highest subsoil moisture at 97 adequate to surplus.

Over one-half of Iowa’s corn acreage was planted last week, the largest percentage planted during this week in over 20 years. Sixty-eight percent of the corn crop has been planted, 8 days ahead of last year and the 5-year average. Farmers in central Iowa led the way with 80 percent of their corn crop planted. Despite progress made in planting, corn emergence remains behind normal. Soybean planting reached 11 percent complete, 5 days ahead of 2014, and 4 days ahead of the average. Ninety-six percent of the oat crop has been planted, nearly 2 weeks ahead of last year, and 12 days ahead of normal. Oats emerged reached 63 percent, one week ahead of last year, and 4 days ahead of normal. Emergence continues to lag behind in north central and northeast Iowa, with only 55 and 50 percent of oats emerged, respectively.

Pasture condition improved to 64 percent good to excellent. Pastures are starting to come along with the warmer temperatures, though cool weather slowed growth throughout the beginning of the season. There were reports of cattle being turned onto pasture and spring calving nearing completion. Poultry producers are still concerned with the recent outbreak of avian influenza.