Written by Theresa Rose on May 19, 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.

“Farmers continue to make planting progress and remain ahead of the five-year average for both corn and soybeans,” Northey said. “The wet weather has slowed progress significantly, especially in southwest Iowa, and there is some standing water being reported.”

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:


Wet and windy conditions slowed planting for Iowa farmers during the week ending May 17, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork. Operators reported the wet weather led to standing water in some fields and the wind halted spraying activity.

Topsoil moisture increased slightly to 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels also increased and now stand at 1 percent very short, 8 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. North central and southwest Iowa reported the highest topsoil levels with 100 and 99 percent rated adequate to surplus, respectively. Southwest Iowa reported the highest subsoil moisture level at 99 percent rated adequate to surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn crop has been planted, 6 days ahead last year, and 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. Southwest Iowa is still lagging behind with just 75 percent planted, compared to northwest Iowa, where 98 percent of the corn was in the ground. Corn reached 63 percent emerged, just over one week ahead of last year and 5 days ahead of normal. Soybean planting reached 51 percent complete, 3 days ahead of 2014, and 2 days ahead of the average. Only 17 percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted in southwest Iowa, with south central Iowa the next lowest at 40 percent complete. With nearly all the State’s oat crop planted, oats emerged reached 92 percent, 8 days ahead of last year, and 5 days ahead of normal. Oat condition ratings improved slightly with 81 percent rated good to excellent.

Limited progress has been made on the first cutting of alfalfa hay due to the cool, wet weather. Hay conditions now rate 80 percent good to excellent. Pasture condition also improved to 70 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as mostly normal with a majority of cattle being turned onto pasture. Some cattle lots were described as messy or muddy. Meanwhile, poultry producers across the State continue to discuss the effects of avian influenza.