Spring Planting Outlook 2024

April 4, 2024 3:18 PM
Blog Post

During the past 90 days, temperatures have been warmer than average, keeping soils from freezing and allowing much needed precipitation to infiltrate into the soil. Despite accumulated precipitation across the state being greater than average for the past 90 days, soil moisture is still lacking. Stream flow was below normal for most of the state during March into early April. Moisture is needed in many areas to continue replenishing groundwater and allowing for soil drainage after around 195 weeks of continued drought or dryness in the state. Though still dry, soil moisture percentile has improved over the past two weeks (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Soil moisture percentile improvements during the past two weeks in Iowa. 

The monthly outlook for April from the Climate Prediction Center shows a chance for warmer temperatures (Figure 2) and a slightly elevated signal for wetter conditions (Figure 3). The climatological average temperature for April is around 49 degrees and average rainfall is about 3.5 inches. It seems that warming will arrive soon, along with around 0.75 inches of rain across the state in the next 7 days (from April 5th to April 12th).

As we prepare for planting, keep an eye on soil temperatures, which are projected to be around 50 degrees by April 10th and continue to warm as we progress into April. Today, soil temperatures are around 40 degrees across most of the state.


Map of the United States showing an elevated chance for warm temperatures across Iowa for the month of April.
Figure 2. Chance for warmer temperatures during April in Iowa, and much of the northern U.S. 

Map of the United States showing a slightly elevated signal for wet conditions during the month of April in Iowa.
Figure 3. Slightly elevated signal for wetter conditions across most of Iowa.