Some farmers in southeast Iowa, where dry weather has hit hardest in the state this summer, began harvesting corn last week. And yields have been hammered. “We’re in the driest area of the state,” notes Clark Yeager, who farms near Ottumwa. “However, in some cases, the yield is turning out to be more promising than we thought it would be, considering the lack of moisture this summer.”
In Iowa, 8% of the 2017 soybean crop was dropping leaves as of Sept. 11, according to USDA’s weekly statewide survey results. That compares to 22% of the soybeans dropping leaves in the 18 main soybean growing states. The five-year average for Iowa is 14% dropping leaves by Sept. 11. Thus, Iowa’s bean crop this year is lagging behind average in terms of maturity.
Other states in the Midwest are also notably trailing their five-year average. For example, Illinois and Minnesota have 13% of their 2017 soybeans dropping leaves as of Sept. 11. Nebraska farmers report 10%. Iowa has 8%, and Wisconsin’s survey shows only 3% of its 2017 soybean crop dropping leaves.
60% of Iowa corn rated good-to excellent
“Farmers are continuing to gear up for another harvest, and we’re seeing more activity in fields across the state as about 15% of corn and 8% of soybeans have reached maturity,” notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “Moving into harvest season, the crop is very variable across the state with 60% of corn and 61% of soybeans rated as good-to-excellent condition.”
The complete weekly crop and weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows.
Summary of Iowa crop conditions
It was another dry week in Iowa with only localized showers during the week ending Sept. 10, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included cutting hay, chopping corn for silage, seeding cover crops, hauling grain and preparing for grain harvest.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 17% very short, 32% short, 51% adequate and zero percent surplus. South-central and southeast Iowa continue to be the driest parts of the state with over 80% of topsoil moisture rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture on average statewide is rated 19% very short, 34% short, 47% adequate and zero percent surplus.
15% of corn reaches maturity
The survey shows 76% of Iowa’s 2017 corn crop has now reached dent stage or beyond, three days behind the five-year average. And 15% of the corn has reached maturity, six days behind last year and 8 days behind average. Corn condition is rated 60% good-to-excellent. Also as of Sept. 10, looking at Iowa’s soybean crop, 47% of beans were turning color, one day behind average. And 8% of soybeans were dropping leaves, four days behind average. Soybean condition statewide rates 61% good to excellent.
Third-cutting of alfalfa hay is 95% complete, over one week ahead of last year. There are reports of producers starting to cut their fourth crop of alfalfa. Pasture conditions declined to 41% poor to very poor due to continued dry conditions slowing growth. Livestock conditions remain good, with reports of cattlemen weaning calves.
Weather summary for Iowa
Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, provides the following summary for the week ended Sept. 10.
It was a very dry week across Iowa with mostly below normal temperatures. Very light rain fell over portions of north central and northeast Iowa on Sept. 4-5, with the north-central Iowa town of Britt reporting the most rain with only 0.13 inch. Thunderstorms were scattered over parts of northwest and far western Iowa on Sept. 9 in the evening and into the morning of Sept. 10 with a maximum of 0.63 inch of rain reported at Akron in northwest Iowa. Otherwise, no rain fell at all over most of the southern two-thirds of Iowa during the week.
Last week driest in Iowa since mid-February
The statewide average rainfall was 0.03 inch, while normal for the week is 0.84 inch. This was the driest week since mid-February. Meanwhile, temperatures were above normal on Sept. 3 and again on Sept. 9. In between unseasonably cool weather prevailed for the work week, especially on Sept. 5-6, when daytime highs were only in the 60s in most areas.
Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Sept. 3 afternoon high of 88 degrees at Oskaloosa to a Sept. 7 morning low of 35 degrees at Stanley in Buchanan County. The statewide average temperature was 4 degrees below normal for the week that ended Sept. 10.