USDA's weekly statewide survey shows Iowa corn and soybean harvest for this year is near completion. The report, based on conditions as of Nov. 23, shows 96% of the state's corn acreage and 99% of soybeans are now harvested.
"The cold weather and snowfall continued to create challenges for farmers this past week, but some progress was made," says Greg Thessen, director of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service office in Des Moines, which conducts the survey and compiles the results. Weather has continued to challenge farmers in south central Iowa as they remain well behind the statewide average with only 85% of corn harvested.
South central Iowa is lagging with only 85% of corn harvested
South central Iowa has had an unusually wet fall, and harvest has been slowed as a result of the weather. Nationally, USDA says 94% of the U.S. corn crop is now harvested, a 5 point increase from a week ago and two points above the 5-year average. Also as of November 23 the nation's soybean harvest improved by three points to 97% done. That's just behind the 98% average for this date. Corn harvest remains slow in Michigan and Wisconsin, the USDA crop progress report said, at 69% and 73% respectively, which compared with the 85% and 86% 5-year averages.
"This is the final weekly USDA crop progress and condition report for the year," adds Thessen. "Thanks to everyone who reported for us this year and who helped make this publication possible." The monthly report for December will be published Jan. 5, 2015.
Colder than normal temperatures, snow halted field work
The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website or on USDA site. The report summary follows here:
CROP REPORT: Cold temperatures and snow halted most activities early in the week, but rising temperatures as the weekend neared allowed Iowa farmers 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 23, 2014, according to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Some tile and terrace work continued despite the colder temperatures, while warmer weather over this past weekend allowed for corn harvest, fall tillage, and fertilizer applications.
Topsoil moisture rated zero percent very short, 5% short, 90% adequate, 5% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 7% short, 85% adequate and 7% surplus.
Iowa corn acreage 96% harvested, soybeans 99% done
As of November 23, Iowa's 2014 corn acreage was 96% harvested, which is equal to 2013 but 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. Corn harvest in south central Iowa continued to trail behind the rest of the state with only 85% complete. Isolated corn fields still remain to be harvested throughout the rest of the state. Soybean harvest was nearly complete with 99% of the state's acreage harvested.
Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 37% moderate to heavy, dropping 11 percentage points from previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated at 93% adequate to surplus. On-farm storage availability was 97% adequate to surplus.
With cold, snowy weather farmers have started feeding hay
Hay and roughage supplies were estimated at 97% adequate to surplus. Cold and snowy conditions tested livestock, and some farmers have started to feed hay.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Nov. 23, 2014
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Very cold and mostly dry weather prevailed through Friday (Nov. 21) across Iowa. Much warmer weather, with some light rain, arrived Friday night. Temperatures remained below freezing across all of Iowa until early on Wednesday (Nov. 19) when temperatures briefly climbed above 32 degrees over extreme western Iowa.
Temperatures on Friday (Nov. 21) climbed above freezing over the southwest one-half of Iowa and climbed well above freezing statewide on Saturday (Dec. 22) and through most of Sunday (Dec. 23). At Des Moines a streak of 252 consecutive hours with temperatures below freezing ended at noon Friday (Dec. 21). This streak was 48 hours longer than previously experienced during 137 years of November weather records at Des Moines (old record was recorded for the last 204 hours of November 1985).
Temperatures for the week averaged 14.6 degrees below normal
Temperature extremes varied from a Friday morning low of minus 6 degrees at Stanley (Buchanan County) to Saturday afternoon highs of 57 degrees at numerous southeastern Iowa locations. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 14.6 degrees below normal. Soils were frozen to a depth of 5 to 9 inches as of Friday (Nov. 21) but were completely thawed in many areas by Sunday (Nov. 23).
Snow flurries were common each day from Sunday (Nov. 16) through Thursday (Nov. 20). Dry weather prevailed on Friday with light rain falling across the southeast one-half of Iowa Friday night into Saturday morning. Donnellson reported the most precipitation with 0.37 inches of rain while much of the northwest half of Iowa recorded only trace amounts. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.03 inches while normal for the week is 0.45 inches. Heavier precipitation fell after the cut-off for this week's report on Sunday (Nov. 23) with rain amounts over an inch across east central and southeast Iowa while snow accumulated late Sunday night across northeast one-half of the state.