Oskaloosa.com

September 24, 2013

USDA: Rain helped Iowa conditions

MATT MILNER
Courier Staff Writer

DES MOINES — The U.S. Department of Agriculture said last week's rain was badly-needed in Iowa, but they could have done without the storm damage.

Nearly the entire state got rain last Thursday, a rare event in what has been a desperately dry summer. The rainfall on Thursday amounted to as much as 4.85 inches in Mills County, though the statewide average was just over an inch.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said the rain made last week the wettest for Iowa in 12 weeks.

But, in a measure of just how bad things have been, soil moisture levels in southeast Iowa remain very dry. Ninety-seven percent of topsoil in southeast Iowa is either short or very short of moisture and subsoil levels are the same.

The corn harvest has begun. The crop appears to have gotten through the summer without major damage. Most of the corn, 68 percent, rates as fair or good condition.

Soybeans improved slightly last week, as did pasture land in Iowa. Soybeans are, overall, in similar conditions to corn; 67 percent of the crop rates good or fair.

A more complete picture of conditions should emerge Thursday, when the U.S. Drought Monitor releases its weekly report.