February saw average temperatures below normal with lows more than 20 degrees below zero, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Iowa Field Office, March 4. Precipitation for the month was above normal and fell often in the form of snow. Soil erosion continued to be a concern with strong winds throughout the month.
As February came to a close, moisture levels rated 14 percent very short, 39 percent short, 46 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. West central Iowa was the driest in the state with 85 percent in very short to short. The northeast reported the most soil moisture with 91 percent in adequate to surplus.
Grain movement rated 37 percent none, 38 percent light, 22 percent moderate, and 3 percent heavy. February had a number of very cold days and a few snowstorms and ice that caused interruptions to grain transportation in some areas.
Availability of hay and roughage supplies was 17 percent short, 77 percent adequate, and 6 percent surplus with 42 percent of the supply in good condition. Livestock conditions have been reported as mostly normal. Hog and pig losses in February were 5 percent light, 80 percent average, and 15 percent heavy. The higher than normal losses resulted from the spread of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv. Cattle and calf losses were 9 percent light, 85 percent average, and 6 percent heavy. A few respondents have started calving.
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