Moisture continues to be an issue
Moisture continued to be an important topic across Iowa during the month of December 2012, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Iowa Field Office.
Although drought conditions in some areas have eased and many were glad to see significant snowfall, concerns remain about how much moisture will be available in the spring.
As December 2012 came to a close, topsoil moisture levels rated 45 percent very short, 42 percent short, 13 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. The driest area of the State was the northwest corner with 59 percent very short, very similar to the area's condition last winter at this time.
December 2012 temperatures averaged 27.6 degrees or 4.7 degrees above normal while precipitation totaled 1.57 inches or 0.23 inches above normal. This ranks as the 39th warmest and 34th wettest December among 140 years of records.
Grain movement rated 47 percent none, 40 percent light, 11 percent moderate and 2 percent heavy. The snow and ice received December 19 and 20 slowed grain movement in some areas.
Availability of hay and roughage supplies was 41 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus with 31 percent of the supply in good condition. Livestock conditions have been reported as normal. Hog and pig losses in December 2012 were 26 percent light, 73 percent average and 1 percent heavy. Cattle and calf losses were the same with 26 percent light, 73 percent average and 1 percent heavy.