DES MOINES Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
"Harvest has slowly started as many farmers continue to wait for corn moisture content to fall and for soybeans to reach full maturity," Northey said. "Hopefully dry weather this week will help and allow farmers to harvest without the need for much drying."
The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report follows here:
Although harvest of both corn and soybean crops is currently underway, cool and cloudy weather has slowed drying of the crops. Flood gauges along the Missouri River are finally dropping below flood stage and some farmers with flooded acres are seeding winter wheat or similar crops for winter cover and soil improvement.
There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 16 percent very short, 34 percent short, 48 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 14 percent very short, 34 percent short, 51 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus.
Eighty percent of the corn crop is now mature, 5 days behind last year but 6 days ahead of normal. Five percent of the corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, behind 2010's nine percent but equal to the five-year average. The moisture content of the corn left to harvest throughout the State dropped 2 percent from previous week to an average of 27 percent, with the corn currently being harvested running 23 percent moisture content. Reports of moderate to heavy corn lodging declined from 18 to 14 percent as many farmers concentrate on harvesting damaged corn first. Ear droppage remains a larger problem than last year at this time, but only 7 percent of the crop is experiencing moderate to heavy ear droppage. Corn condition stands at 5 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 44 percent good, and 12 percent excellent. Ninety-four percent of the soybean crop has turned color, equal to both last year and the five-year average. Over half of Iowa's soybean fields are dropping leaves, but development still lags 6 days behind last year and normal. Just 3 percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, behind last year's 7 percent and the normal 8 percent. Soybean lodging and shattering levels are nearly identical to last year at this time. Soybean condition stands at 3 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 48 percent good and 15 percent excellent. Third cutting alfalfa hay harvest advanced to 96 percent complete, equal to last year's pace but ahead of the normal 94 percent. The condition of the hay crop is reported at 8 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 34 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.
Pasture and range condition rated 12 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 28 percent good, and 5 percent excellent. Livestock conditions continue to be excellent.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
The past reporting week began with mild weather with daytime highs mostly in the 70's along with a few 80's on Monday (19th) and Tuesday (20th). Keosauqua reported the highest temperature reaching 84 degrees on Tuesday. However, below normal temperatures were the rule for the rest of the week with highs mostly in the 60's. Freezing temperatures were reported in some areas from Thursday (22nd) through Sunday (25th) with the most widespread cold coming on Friday (23rd) morning when temperatures fell to 28 degrees at Battle Creek and Sheldon. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.1 degrees below normal. Dry weather prevailed for most of the week. However, light rain showers were scattered over much of the state on Monday night into Tuesday and over northeastern Iowa on both Wednesday and Thursday. A few isolated thunderstorms were reported over the eastern one-quarter of the state on Saturday (24th) and Sunday (25th). There was no measurable rainfall across much of southern Iowa while Volga in Clayton County reported the most rain with 0.28 inch. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.05 inch while normal for the week is 0.75 inch. This was the seventh week of the past eight to bring less than normal rainfall.