Field work started north of Decorah in early May. (Decorah Newspapers photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Field work started north of Decorah in early May. (Decorah Newspapers photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Last month was the sixth wettest May on record, something of which area farmers are painfully aware.
In his monthly weather report, Decorah Meteorologist Richard Bernatz said comparing all Mays from 1895 to 2019, with data missing for 1921, five Mays were wetter and 118 were drier.
The wettest May was 1941 when 12.18 inches fell, and the driest was May of 1897 with .79 inch.
Total precipitation last month was 8.47 inches, 4.24 inches more than the average amount of 4.23 inches.
There were 14 days with measurable precipitation – average is between 11 and 12 days. The greatest 24-hour total was 3.25 inches May 19.
According to Bernatz, 11 of the past 12 months were wetter than average and five of the last 12 months rank in the top 10 wettest for the month.

Two days
There were only 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork in Iowa during the week ending June 2, according to the United State Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistic Service weekly Iowa crop progress and condition report. The report is issued weekly from April through November.
Eighty percent of the expected corn crop has been planted, nearly three weeks behind the five-year average. This is the smallest amount of corn planted by June 2 since 1982 when 76 percent of the expected crop had been planted.
The weekly report stated 58 percent of the state’s crop has emerged, 12 days behind last year and 13 days behind average. Forty-one percent of the expected soybean crop has been planted, 18 days behind last year and average. This is the smallest percent of soybeans planted by June 2 since 1993 when just 39 percent of the expected crop had been planted. Seventeen percent of the crop has emerged, two weeks behind last year and 13 days behind average.
Ninety-three percent of the expected oat crop has emerged, eight days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Only 4 percent of the state’s first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed, over two weeks behind average.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig commented Monday on this week’s crop progress and condition report.
“It has been another challenging week weather-wise for farmers across the state,” Naig said.
“With just 1.3 days suitable for fieldwork, the historic planting delays continue. The corn planting progress is now nearly three weeks behind the five-year average, and soybean planting progress is 18 days behind last year and the five-year average. This coming week is critical for farmers who are making tough planting decisions. If we can get a stretch of warm, dry days, farmers can make significant gains,” Naig said.

Temperatures
Bernatz reported the average temperature last month was 56.8 degrees, 2.1 degrees cooler than average. The warmest temperature was 86 degrees May 31 and the coldest was 32 degrees May 10.
Comparing last month with all Mays from 1895 to 2019 (data from 1921 is missing):
• 87 were warmer and 36 were cooler
• The warmest average was 67.8 degrees in 1934
• The coldest average was 48.7 degrees in 1924
• The warmest temperature was 97 degrees May 25, 1911
• The coldest temperature was 20 degrees May 3, 1908 and May 3, 2005
Four of the past five months were cooler than average, Bernatz said.