Seed corn harvest has been going strong for the last two weeks in Iowa. But harvest of corn for grain is just barely getting started. In fact, USDA's weekly crop conditions survey, released September 22, showed no harvest of corn and soybeans for last week. But that's changing this week, as more farmers have started opening corn fields. Actually, a few farmers in Iowa did start harvesting some corn last week. There was some harvest activity in Marshall County in central Iowa. And some corn harvest activity in southeast Iowa.
At Cargill's big processing plant at Eddyville in southeast Iowa, manager Ray Jenkins says they were taking in some loads of new crop southern Iowa and northern Missouri corn that was testing as low as 22% moisture content. Mark Licht, Iowa State University Extension agronomist, snapped a photo of a farmer opening up a soybean field in Webster County, about 90 miles north of Des Moines. Indeed, harvest 2014 is beginning to get underway.
Iowa farmers used last week to make hay, and silage
"Dryer weather last week allowed farmers to get back into the fields to chop silage or make hay. Harvest of seed corn fields is also in full swing," notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "If the weather remains dry this week, widespread harvest will likely begin. Farmers are anxious to get into the fields for what could be very good yields in much of the state."
The complete weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship site or USDA's site. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Iowa farmers took advantage of the most days suitable for fieldwork in over a month during the week ending September 21, 2014, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included chopping silage and harvesting hay.
Soil moisture levels remained steady during the week across Iowa. Topsoil moisture rated zero percent very short, 4% short, 80% adequate and 16% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 8% short, 79% adequate and 12% surplus.
As of September 21, statewide 92% of Iowa's corn crop was in or beyond the dent stage, 4 days ahead of the previous year but 3 days behind the 5-year average. Corn maturity reached 37% mature, 10 days behind normal. Unchanged from the previous 3 weeks, 76% of the Iowa corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition.
Leaves are turning color on 79% of Iowa's soybean crop
Leaves were turning color on 79% of the state's soybean crop as of September 21. That's 5 days ahead of the previous year but 3 days behind average. And 34% of the soybean acreage was dropping leaves, 4 days ahead of last year, but 5 days behind normal. Unchanged from the previous week, 74% of the bean acreage was in good to excellent condition.
The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 80% complete statewide, the lowest percent complete by this date in over 20 years. Pasture condition rated 67% good to excellent. Livestock conditions are reported as normal.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Sept. 21, 2014
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
A pair of weather systems brought light to moderate rain to most of the state on both Monday (Sept. 15) and Friday (Sept. 19). Dry weather prevailed across most of Iowa the other days of the week. Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.02 inches in northeast Washington County to 1.85 inches at the Spencer Airport. The statewide average precipitation for the week was 0.58 inches, or a little less than the weekly normal of 0.77 inches. This was Iowa's driest week in seven weeks.
Iowa has it's driest week in seven weeks, as 2014 harvest begins
Meanwhile, the week began with unseasonably cool weather with highs mostly in the sixties on Sunday (Sept. 14), Monday (Sept. 15) and Tuesday (Sept. 16). Some frost was reported on Tuesday morning with lows down to 33 degrees at Battle Creek, Elkader, Sheldon and Stanley. Temperatures were just slightly below normal in most areas on Wednesday and Thursday with daytime highs mostly in the seventies.
Much warmer weather arrived Friday and continued through the day on Saturday with a cool front passing through Iowa Saturday night. Sioux City and Little Sioux both reached 90 degrees on Friday afternoon while far eastern Iowa temperatures peaked in the upper seventies on Saturday. The statewide average temperature for the week was 3.0 degrees below normal, with far northwest Iowa averaging one degree above normal while the extreme southeast averaged seven degrees subnormal.