Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

April 23, 2013

Rains restore soil moisture levels

MATT MILNER
CNHI

OTTUMWA — Iowa farmers weren't able to make much headway last week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But, then, everyone knew that already.

The record-shattering rains that fell last week kept farmers out of the fields, but did manage to do some good for soil conditions. Over 90 percent of Iowa topsoil now has adequate moisture or a surplus. Subsoil levels lag behind but the percentage with adequate moisture nearly doubled, from 29 percent last week to 48 percent in this week's report.

Southeast Iowa soil moisture levels are running ahead of the state average, no surprise given the fact most locations in the area saw as much rain in two days as they usually do all month.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker wrote in the report that Pella saw the highest rainfall total at 8.71 inches. Centerville saw the highest one-day total, at 6.76 inches last Wednesday.

Just how much rain fell? It was enough that the statewide average was almost triple the normal amount for the week.

The USDA says oat planting is 22 percent complete. The five-year average for this time of year is 68 percent. It does not list any other crops yet.