Iowa farmers entered October with over half of the state's 2012 corn and soybean harvest already finished. The weekly USDA survey as of September 30 showed 56% of the state's corn crop and 54% of the soybeans were harvested, two to three weeks ahead of the normal schedule.
"With summer drought speeding up the maturity of this year's crop, Iowa's harvest is progressing well ahead of usual for the state," says Greg Thessen, director of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service office in Des Moines, which conducts the weekly survey. The continued dry weather has allowed farmers to make quick progress as they seek to get drought damaged crops out of the fields in good condition. Nationally, USDA says 54% of the U.S. corn crop and 41% of the soybean crop has been harvested as of September 30.
So far in year 2012, Iowa is running 8.75 inches below normal in rainfall
Iowa remains dry. State climatologist Harry Hillaker with the Iowa Department of Agriculture reports that for the month of September 2012 the statewide average precipitation was just 1.63 inches. That's slightly less than one-half of normal for the month and the lowest September total since 1990.
The first three-quarters of this year has been the driest since 1988, with the state averaging nearly 8.75 inches less than the usual precipitation.
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:
Iowa's corn harvest now 56% complete, soybean harvest already 54% complete
CROP REPORT: Dry weather throughout the week ending September 30 allowed Iowa farmers to surpass the halfway point in harvesting corn and soybean acres for 2012 according to the weekly report issued by the Iowa office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in Des Moines. Soybean harvest advanced 31 percentage points from last week, with northwest Iowa harvesting 38% of their crop in just one week. Farmers are getting fall tillage underway.
There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 57% very short, 36% short, 7% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture also declined slightly and is now rated 70% very short, 26% short, 4% adequate and 0% surplus. With row crop harvest more than half complete, 56% of the state is seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator.
As of September 30, the survey shows 56% of Iowa's corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, a 19 percentage point increase from last week. Corn harvested is 46% higher than last year at this time. Moisture content of all corn in the field is estimated at 19% while the moisture content of corn being harvested is estimated at 17%. Corn lodging is rated at 55% none, 28% light, 13% moderate and 4% heavy. Ear droppage is rated at 65% none, 22% light, 11% moderate and 2% heavy. Corn condition improved slightly and is now rated at 19% very poor, 28% poor, 33% fair, 18% good and 2% excellent.
Only 23% of Iowa's pasture is rated in fair or better condition, as drought takes toll
Ninety-three percent of Iowa's soybean fields are dropping leaves, as of September 30, a week ahead of normal. And 54% of the state's soybean crop has been harvested, also a week ahead of normal. Soybean lodging is rated at 80% none, 16% light, 4% moderate, and 0% heavy. Soybean shattering is rated at 65% none, 20% light, 12% moderate and 3% heavy. Soybean condition improved and is now rated at 11% very poor, 20% poor, 37% fair, 29% good and 3% excellent.
Only 24% of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition, a slight decrease from last week. Pasture and range condition is rated at 49% very poor, 27% poor, 20% fair, 4% good and 0% excellent. Stress on livestock was minimal with no issues reported for the week ending September 30. Some farmers are moving their cattle to recently harvested corn and soybean fields.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Sept. 30, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
It was a very dry week across Iowa with precipitation confined to just a few thundershowers over extreme southeast Iowa early Tuesday (September 25) morning. Keokuk reported the most rain for the week that ended September 30 with just 0.17 inches and the northwestern 98% of the state received no rain at all. The statewide average precipitation was a trace while normal for the week is 0.73 inches.
For the month of September 2012 the statewide average precipitation was just 1.63 inches, slightly less than one-half of normal, and the lowest September total since 1990. The first three-quarters of this year has been the driest since 1988, averaging nearly 8 3/4 inches less than the usual precipitation.
Temperatures for the week ending September 30 were highly variable with mostly warm days and very cool nights. The week began with a widespread freeze over the eastern one-third of Iowa with Belle Plaine reporting a low of 24 degrees F on Monday (September 24) morning. The cold weather of the 23rd and 24th brought a freeze to 80% of the state and was the most widespread freeze for so early in the season since September 22-23, 1983. There were also scattered light freezes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.
The highest temperatures for the week ending September 30 came on Tuesday (September 25) with 86 degrees at Sioux City (a 47 degree rise from their morning low of 39) to 85 degree highs at Hampton on Saturday, September 29 and at Des Moines on Sunday, September 30. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.2 degrees above normal.