With favorable weather, harvest 2015 continues to make good progress this week in Iowa. USDA's weekly statewide survey showed as of October 4, Iowa's soybean harvest is running one week ahead of last year and corn harvest is 10 days ahead of last year at this time.
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Iowa farmers were able to harvest a quarter of the state's 10 million acres of soybeans last week and had 32% of the beans out of the field as of October 4. Thirteen percent of the state's 2015 corn crop was also harvested as of October 4. "Both of those numbers are continuing to increase rapidly this week as crops are drying down and more farmers are getting into the field," says Greg Thessen, director of the survey conducted by USDA's National Ag Statistics Service field office in Des Moines.
Northwest Iowa way ahead, southwest and south-central lag
While Iowa's soybean harvest is one week ahead of last year, it's a day behind the five-year average. And while Iowa's corn harvest is 10 days ahead of last year, it's eight days behind average. Some areas of Iowa are running farther ahead than others this fall. More than half the soybean crop was harvested as of October 4 in northwest Iowa. But just 6% was harvested in southwest and south-central Iowa, where hard rains required some fields to be replanted last June.
"I've seen some fields and also heard of some fields with scattered green soybean stems in mature bean fields," says Mark Johnson, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist in central Iowa. "In some cases these stems are green enough to cause the combine operator to drive slower than he would otherwise. As one farmer told me while I rode with him, the patches in the field with green stem soybeans really pull the engine down if he tries to keep his speed up."
Generally, pretty good corn and bean yields in central Iowa
Johnson says he's heard of bean yields mostly in the 55- to 70-bushel-per-acre range and corn in the 160- to 210-bushel-per-acre range in Boone and Dallas counties. In Story, Marshall, Polk, Jasper and Warren counties, bean yields are running in the 50s and 60s often, with a few reports in the 70-bushel-per-acre range. He's heard of corn yields in the 185- to 225-bushel range fairly often, but probably more in the 195- to 220- bushel range so far, with a few reports as low as 160 and a few as high as 250. Both crops are drying down nicely in the field, with many reports in the 11% to 13% moisture range for beans and corn is running in the 18% to 20% range with some a little wetter.
The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Mostly dry conditions allowed Iowa farmers to harvest one-quarter of the state's soybean crop during the week ending October 4, 2015, according the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork activities for the week included cutting hay and harvesting soybeans and corn for grain. In some areas, farmers are waiting for their crops to dry down before harvesting. There were also reports of manure being spread.
Iowa corn crop now over 90% mature, three days ahead of average
Topsoil moisture rated zero percent very short, 6% short, 86% adequate, 8% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 6% short, 83% adequate and 10% surplus.
As of October 4 Iowa's corn crop was 90% mature, eight days ahead of last year, and three days ahead of the five-year average. And 13% of the corn crop for grain was harvested, 10 days ahead of last year, but eight days behind average. Moisture content of all corn being harvested was at 21%, down 3 percentage points from the previous week. Corn condition rated 80% good to excellent.
Low prices make it critical to keep costs and waste low. Lower prices mean farmers must calculate whether and how to store on- or off-farm, and the cost of drying and transporting to a commercial facility. Download our free report: Grain Handling & Storage Tips.
Soybean crop one-third harvested, two days ahead of normal
Statewide 97% of soybeans were turning color or beyond, while 86% of soybeans were dropping leaves, two days ahead of normal. And 32% of the soybean crop has been harvested, one week ahead of last year, but one day behind average. Soybean condition rated 77% good to excellent.
The third cutting of alfalfa hay is 96% complete, three days ahead last year but eight days behind the average. Pasture condition rated 65% good to excellent. Livestock conditions were described as excellent, with scattered reports of calves being weaned.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending October 4, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past reporting week began with unseasonably high temperatures with afternoon maximums in the 80s over nearly all of Iowa on Monday (Sept. 28). A cold front moved across the state late Monday and into Tuesday and was followed by below normal temperatures for the remainder of the week.
Temperatures for week averaged 1 degree below normal
Daytime highs were mostly in the 60s from Wednesday (Sept. 30) through Saturday (Oct. 3) with afternoon readings only in the 50s over much of eastern Iowa on Sunday (Oct. 4) owing to widespread cloud cover that day. Temperature extremes ranged from Monday afternoon highs of 86 degrees at Donnellson, Lamoni, Osceola, Perry and Sidney to morning lows of 32 degrees at Estherville on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.0 degrees below normal. Rain fell over all but a few far southeastern Iowa locations between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. This was the only rain event of the week. Greatest rain amounts, mostly in the 1- to 2-inch range, fell across the central one-third of the state from Monona and Harrison County east-northeastward to Clayton and Dubuque counties.
Soil temperatures will climb this week with warmer weather
The greatest rain total was a 2.73 inch amount north of Woodbine in Harrison County while no measurable rain fell at Centerville, Keosauqua and Albia. The statewide average precipitation was 0.57 inches while normal for the week is 0.70 inches. Soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth as of Sunday (Oct. 4) afternoon were averaging in the mid to upper 50s statewide. However those readings are expected to climb this coming week with warmer weather on the way.