Iowa 2012 Corn Harvest Quickly Wrapping Up

Iowa 2012 Corn Harvest Quickly Wrapping Up

Weekly survey shows Iowa corn harvest already three-fourths complete, a pace that's about one month ahead of normal.

USDA's latest weekly survey released October 9 shows Iowa's 2012 corn crop was 76% harvested as of Sunday October 7. That's about one month ahead of normal, thanks to a summer drought that pushed the crop to maturity at a fast pace. Dry weather has continued this fall, allowing harvest to keep rolling along.

FAST HARVEST: Because of drought this summer, Iowa crop maturity advanced faster than normal and farmers have had a dry fall. The state's corn harvest was 76% complete as of October 7—a month ahead of schedule. Iowa's soybean harvest is 80% complete which is 2 weeks ahead of normal.

"Farmers are quickly wrapping up the 2012 harvest and moving on to fall tillage and other fieldwork," notes Greg Thessen, director of the USDA's National Ag Statistics Service field office in Des Moines, which conducts the weekly statewide survey and compiles the results. "Harvest remains well ahead of the 5-year average. Farmers are one month ahead of average with 76% of the corn harvested and two weeks ahead on soybeans with 80% harvested."

Iowa experienced its 20th week out of the last 22 weeks of below average precipitation, says Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. Through Sunday October 7 the state received 0.05 inches of rain, compared to a normal of 0.68 inches. Statewide, 93% of Iowa's topsoil and subsoil are rated insufficient for moisture, compared to 73% insufficient a year ago. What has now become a year-long drought began to make itself felt about this time a year ago

For Iowa, 20 of last 22 weeks have been below average in rainfall statewide

The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website or on USDA's site. A summary of the report follows here:

CROP REPORT: Iowa experienced favorable weather during the first half of the week ending October 7, 2012 but temperatures took a sharp turn cooler at the end of the week. Corn harvest advanced 20 percentage points from last week, while soybean harvest advanced 26 percentage points according to USDA's National Ag Statistics Service Iowa field office in Des Moines. Northwest Iowa farmers, with 91% of their corn acreage harvested and 96% of their soybean harvested, continue to lead the way with harvest in the state. Fall tillage is more prevalent as harvest nears completion.

There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture level declined to 67% very short, 29% short, 4% adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture also declined slightly and is now rated 71% very short, 26% short, 3% adequate and zero percent surplus. Grain movement remains brisk, with 52% of Iowa seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator. As harvest advances, 99% of Iowa reports adequate or surplus off-farm storage capacity and 95% of the state reports adequate or surplus on-farm storage capacity.

Survey shows 95% of state reports adequate or surplus on-farm storage capacity

As of October 7, Iowa's corn crop was 76% harvested for grain or seed, one month ahead of normal. Last year at this time, less than one-quarter of Iowa's corn crop had been harvested. Also as of October 7, the survey shows 98% of Iowa's soybean fields have dropped leaves, nearly a week ahead of normal. And 80% of the state's soybean crop has been harvested, two weeks ahead of normal. Soybean harvest is 24% ahead of last year at this time.


Only 24% of Iowa's pasture land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated at 52% very poor, 24% poor, 20% fair, 4% good and zero percent excellent. Hay supplies are considered short across 43% of Iowa with just over one-third of the hay supply considered in good condition. Livestock producers continue to move cattle to recently harvested fields as well as feeding hay as pasture conditions remain poor.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended October 7, 2010

By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

The week that ended Sunday October 7 began with warm and dry conditions. High temperatures were mostly in the 70s on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a maximum of 82 degrees at Keosauqua, Little Sioux and Sioux City on Wednesday (October 3). Much cooler air dominated the state for the rest of the week. Saturday (October 6) was the coldest day in most areas with highs only in the 40s. A hard freeze was recorded over most of Iowa over the weekend with Sibley reporting a low of 21 degrees on Friday (October 5) morning, Battle Creek 12 degrees on Saturday (October 6) morning and Spencer 13 degrees on Sunday (October 7) morning.

Last week averaged 7.1 degrees below normal temperature, only a trace of rain

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 7.1 degrees below normal. Battle Creek's Saturday low temperature tied for the lowest temperature for so early in the season in Iowa (also 12 degrees at Humboldt on Oct. 6, 1935). The only rain event of the week came on Thursday and was confined to about the southeast one-half of Iowa. Keokuk Airport reported the most rain with 0.68 inches. The statewide average precipitation was 0.05 inches while normal for the week is 0.68 inches. The week ending October 7, 2012 was the 20th week of the past 22 with below normal rainfall.

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