Written by Theresa Rose on May 12, 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.

“The entire state saw at least some precipitation over the past week and as result planting progress was slowed, especially when compared to the previous week. Fortunately, we remain ahead of the five-year average with 83 percent of corn and 30 percent of soybeans planted,” 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:


After the previous week’s near-record corn planting, wet weather hindered spring planting during the week ending May 10, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 2.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Operators in eastern Iowa reported weeds were getting ahead of the sprayers as they were unable to get into the fields. Activities during the week included planting, fertilizer and herbicide application, and seedbed preparation.

Topsoil moisture levels rated to 0 percent very short, 7 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 10 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. North central and southwest Iowa reported the highest topsoil levels with 99 percent rated adequate to surplus, and southwest Iowa also reported the highest subsoil moisture level at 98 percent rated adequate to surplus.

Eighty-three percent of the corn crop has been planted, approximately one week ahead of both last year and 5-year average. Southwest Iowa lagged behind, with just 64 percent planted, compared to the highest district, northwest Iowa, where 96 percent of the corn was in the ground. Corn emerged reached 29 percent, just over one week ahead of last year. Corn emergence was described as excellent with reports of high stand counts in some areas. Soybean planting reached 30 percent complete, 5 days ahead of 2014, and 3 days ahead of the average. Ninety-eight percent of the oat crop has been planted, 10 days ahead of last year, and one week ahead of normal. Oats emerged reached 83 percent, 9 days ahead of last year, and 5 days ahead of normal. The season’s first oat condition ratings came in at 0 percent very poor, 0 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 68 percent good, and 11 percent excellent.

Limited progress has been made on the first cutting of alfalfa hay due to the cool wet weather. The first hay condition rating of the season was 0 percent very poor, 1 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 60 percent good, and 18 percent excellent. Pasture condition improved to 67 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as mostly normal with continued reports of cattle being turned onto pasture. Muddy lots have been reported by some cattle producers in southwest Iowa. Meanwhile, poultry producers remain concerned about their flocks given the recent spread of avian influenza