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Warm weather brings stress to crops, livestock

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:44 a.m. CDT

DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented on Monday on the Iowa crop progress and condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. 

“The beautiful weather last week was great for farmers needing to make hay,” Northey said.  “The much warmer weather this week will increase the stress on both crops and livestock.  Farmers will be monitoring livestock closely during the extremely hot and humid weather forecast for the first part of the week.” 

The report summary follows here:

Over one-quarter of the second cutting of alfalfa hay was harvested during the week ending July 20, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork, surpassing the previous season high of 5.3 days suitable near the end of May. In addition to cutting hay, activities for the week included fungicide and herbicide application. 

A lack of precipitation across most of the state this week resulted in a decline in soil moisture levels. Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 7 percent short, 82 percent adequate, and 11 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 82 percent adequate, and 10 percent surplus. 

Fifty-nine percent of the corn acreage was silking, 11 days ahead of last year and 2 days ahead of the five-year average. Seventy-seven percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition.

Blooming was evident in 67 percent of the soybean acreage, more than double the percent last year. Nineteen percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, well ahead of last year’s 2 percent. Seventy-four percent of the soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, virtually unchanged from last week.

With 83 percent of the oat acreage having turned color, oat harvest reached 21 percent complete, 2 percentage points ahead of last year but 17 percentage points behind normal. Seventy-three percent of the oat acreage was reported in good to excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week. 

With the first cutting of alfalfa hay nearly complete, the second cutting of alfalfa was 54 percent complete, two days ahead of last year but 6 days behind normal. Sixty-eight percent of all hay was rated in good to excellent condition.

Pasture condition rated 74 percent good to excellent. Overall stress on livestock was minimal during the week, but pink-eye was reported in some cattle due to wet conditions. 

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