Des Moines, Iowa — Weather kept farmers out of the fields much of last week, but the latest crop report shows planting is still on schedule.

file photo

file photo

The report shows 92-percent of the corn has been planted, which is six days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the five-year average. Northwest Iowa stayed ahead of the pace — with 98-percent of the corn planting there complete. Southwest Iowa lags behind the state average with just 75-percent of the corn crop in. Sixty-three-percent of the corn has emerged, which is one week ahead of last year and five days ahead of normal.

Soybean planting crossed the halfway point at 51-percent complete — three-days days ahead of last year and two days ahead of the average.

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at


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.



By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

The past week began with widespread light to moderate rain from Sunday (10th) afternoon into Monday (11th) morning. Tuesday (12th) was dry while rain moved back into western Iowa Wednesday (13th) night. Rain fell over most of the state on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the greatest amounts falling over west central and southwest Iowa. Finally, there were a few showers and thunderstorms on Sunday(17th). Rain totals for the week ranged from 0.45 inches at the Cedar Rapids Airport to 4.45 inches at the Audubon Airport. The statewide average precipitation was 1.32 inches while normal for the week is 1.05 inches. Meanwhile, cooler than normal weather prevailed from Monday through Thursday, with the coolest weather on Monday when highs were only in the mid-forties over northwest Iowa. Much warmer and more humid weather quickly returned for the weekend before a cold front swept across the state on Sunday. Temperature extremes ranged from a Tuesday morning low of 33 degrees at Elkader to afternoon highs of 83 degrees at Davenport and Maquoketa on Saturday (16th) and at Bellevue and Clinton on Sunday afternoon (17th). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.4 degrees above normal. Severe thunderstorms were scattered across portions of northwest and west central Iowa on Sunday (10th) with greatest damage from high winds, large hail and a tornado in Calhoun County. There were also a few reports of damaging winds in central and south central Iowa early Sunday (17th) morning.

Primghar, Iowa — A Paullina woman was taken to the hospital after an accident near Primghar.
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The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 4:25 PM on Sunday, May 17, 2015, 39-year-old Leah Geurts of Paullina was driving a 1999 Dodge minivan northbound on Redwood Avenue, a mile and a half west of Primghar.

The report says that Geurts lost control on the gravel road and the minivan entered the west ditch. It hit a power pole, which broke off and landed on the roof of the van. It says Geurts crawled out of the van and was taken to Orange City Health System Hospital by private vehicle.

Geurts’ Dodge minivan sustained $5000 in damages. The power pole, owned by Northwest Rural Electric Coop, was valued at $500.

Rock Valley, Iowa — A medical call on Saturday, May 16th, near Rock Valley has turned into an investigation into a possible alcohol overdose case.
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The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that early on that date, about 1:50 AM, they investigated a report of a medical emergency at a residence on Dogwood Avenue, five miles southwest of Rock Valley. The call reported that a female was unresponsive.

Upon further investigation, deputies believe that 20-year-old Tayler Hutchinson of Yankton, SD was in need of medical assistance due to an apparent alcohol overdose. They say Hutchinson had allegedly earlier consumed alcohol at a gathering in Rock Valley and then had been brought to the home on Dogwood Avenue.

Hutchinson was transported by the Rock Valley Ambulance to Hegg Memorial Hospital in Rock Valley. She was later transported to Avera‐Mckennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

They say the case remains under investigation with the possibility of pending criminal charges.

The Rock Valley Police Department and Rock Valley Ambulance crew assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

Council ChambersSheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council meets Wednesday May 20th with a Public Hearing on amendments to the 2014-15 budget. There are several reasons for these amendments. Some are brought about by projects that were not completed in 2013-14 and were carried over to the current fiscal year. Also, the city is paying off a high interest bond and this action affects the budget. In addition revenues have been higher than anticipated due to rate increases in certain areas. There will be no increase in tax levies due to the amendments.

The Council will also hear reports from SCDC Director Curt Strouth and Parks and Recreation Director Jake Kerr. They will also hear the first reading of an ordinance on water and sewer rates. The proposed ordinance would increase the overall water and sewer rates by three percent for all users.

Wednesday’s meeting will begin at 4:30 pm in the upper level of the Sheldon Community Services Center.

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Community Foundation has awarded grants totaling over ninety-one thousand dollars in support of projects and programs throughout Sioux County.
Sioux County Community Foundation
This brings the total grants awarded to over $818,000 since the first grants were made in 2006. Funding for the grant program is a result of County Endowment Fund legislation passed in 2005 which provides that a percentage of state gambling revenues be distributed among all Iowa counties that do not have a gambling entity. Counties that do have a gambling entity have separate agreements between the non-profit license-holder of the casino and the casino itself to provide a percentage of the winnings to county non-profits.

Projects in Orange City, Hull, Hawarden, Boyden, and two in Granville each received $10,000 grants, and a number of other projects received smaller grants.

Receiving the $10,000 grants were the Boyden-Hull Community School District Foundation for Centennial Park Batting Cages; the Granville Improvement Club for work to be done to the City park campground; Hawarden Park & Recreation for French Park Playground Equipment; the Hull Parks & Recreation Department for a Concession stand at Eastside Park; Orange City Area Daycare and Preschool for the Orange City Area Daycare Expansion Project; and Spalding Catholic School for a Handicap Accessibility Project.

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Washington, DC —  U.S. Senator Joni Ernst will host town meetings in Osceola, Lyon, and Sioux counties this Saturday, May 23rd to discuss the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in addition to other topics. These town meetings are open to the public.
The Senator and her staff will start the day at 9:30 AM at Cooperative Energy at 1708 Pierce Avenue at Sibley.  At 11:15 AM, she will be at the Rock Rapids Public Library at 102 South Greene Street in Rock Rapids. At 1:45 PM, it’s on to Sioux Center for a meeting at the De Yager Student Activities Center in the Campus Center on the campus of Dordt College at 498 Fourth Avenue Northeast.

Representatives from other offices and organizations have also been invited to join the town meetings. Their participation has not been confirmed, however.  They include the offices of:

  • Senator Chuck Grassley
  • Congressman Steve King
  • Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey

And representatives of:

  • Iowa Egg Council
  • Iowa Poultry Association
  • Iowa Farm Bureau
  • Iowa Turkey Federation
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture

Last week, Senators Grassley and Ernst sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack encouraging the USDA to ensure that resources have been properly deployed to Iowa to fight the ongoing outbreak of HPAI.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A wood pile was damaged in a fire on Monday, May 18, 2015 near Rock Rapids.
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According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, about 4:35 AM, the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the report of wood pile on fire at the home of Marc Krull, and Krull Wood Products at 2078 Hickory Avenue, nearly six miles south of Rock Rapids on K52.

The chief says the fire department saw a pile of logs on fire near a building as they approached the scene. He says friends and neighbors used heavy equipment to help fight the fire, and the fire department doused the fire with water. They were able to save the building.

Reck reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

The fire department was assisted by the George Fire Department, who provided water and manpower, says Reck.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to have been embers from a burning pit that the owner reported had been used last two weeks ago. He says the embers appear to have re-ignited in the strong wind.

He says they used between 6000 and 7000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene two hours.

No damage estimate is available.

The Lyon County Ambulance crew provided support on the scene.

sioux county sheriff emblemGranville, IA — A semi was damaged after hay bales fell off a pick up on Friday, May 15th near Granville.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 2:30 pm on Friday, 38-year-old Chad Miller of Marcus was driving a 1998 Chevrolet pickup southbound on Marsh Avenue hauling hay bales in the bed of the pickup. Thirty-five-year-old Dustin Wallenburg of Hartley was driving a 2007 Freightliner Semi northbound on Marsh Avenue. According the report, some hay bales fell off the Chevrolet, onto the roadway and were struck by the Freightliner.

The Freightliner received $1000 damage.

No injuries were reported

deer_sxc2Sioux Center, IA — An Iowa City woman hit a deer near Sioux Center on Friday, May 15th.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 9:43 pm on Friday, 47-year-old Jana Grienke of Iowa City was eastbound on 400th Street, two miles east of Sioux Center in a 2015 Hyundai when she struck a deer in the roadway.

The Hyundai received $1500 damage.

No injuries were reported.