Some Iowa Soybean Yields Better Than Expected

Some Iowa Soybean Yields Better Than Expected

Iowa soybean crop already one-fourth harvested; some growers say yields are better than they anticipated.

Combines keep rolling across the countryside, as the latest weekly survey shows Iowa's 2012 soybean crop was 23% harvested as of September 23. That's a week ahead of the normal pace.

The USDA Crops & Weather survey rates 34% of Iowa's soybean crop "poor to very poor" which is consistent with ratings in recent weeks as the crop suffered from summer's widespread drought. But some farmers are reporting yields better than expected. Farming near Knoxville in south-central Iowa, Kyle Phillips says his bean yields are running 10% to 20% below normal but still better than he anticipated. In recent years he's harvested beans in the 50 to 60 bushel range. In northwest Iowa, Tom Reimers at Spirit Lake harvested a field averaging 53 bushels per acre on Sunday.

Iowa's soybean crop may turn out better than previously forecast

ROLLING ALONG: Iowa's 2012 soybean harvest is a week ahead of normal, with 23% harvested as of September 23, according to latest USDA weekly survey. Despite drought, some fields are yielding better than expected.

Iowa's statewide soybean average was 50.5 bushels per acre in 2011. This year's drought-stricken crop will average less, but perhaps it won't end up as low as some people have thought. USDA is currently projecting a 39-bushel-per-acre soybean average for Iowa in 2012. That September 12 estimate, based on conditions as of September 1, will be updated in the government's next monthly crop production report, scheduled to be issued on October 11, based on conditions as of October 1.

What about corn? Some farmers in parts of Iowa are reporting slightly better corn yields than expected. USDA's September 12 crop production report estimates Iowa's 2012 corn crop to average 140 bushels per acre. Iowa averaged 172 bushels per acre over the past three years.

Corn also advances as nearly 40% of Iowa crop already harvested

"Harvest continues to advance rapidly as farmers work to get corn and beans out before crop conditions deteriorate," notes Greg Thessen, head of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service office in Des Moines, the agency which conducts these surveys. "Weather has been ideal for harvest so far this fall and has allowed farmers to make significant progress."


The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture's site or on USDA's site. Here's a summary of the report for the week ending September 23:

CROP REPORT: Iowa's 2012 corn harvest is running over three weeks ahead of normal

Iowa experienced little rain during the week resulting in ideal harvest conditions for farmers as progress remains ahead of normal, according to the USDA/NASS Iowa office. Over one-third of the state's corn is harvested with a few farmers already completing their harvest. Farmers in northwest Iowa harvested almost one-third of their soybean crop during the week ending September 23.

There were 6.5 days suitable for field work statewide during the week. Topsoil moisture level declined to 54% very short, 36% short, 10% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture declined slightly and is now rated 68% very short, 27% short, 5% adequate and 0% surplus.

Over 96% of Iowa's corn crop is now mature, ahead of last year's 74% and the five-year average of 62%. As of September 23 37% of the corn crop had been harvested for grain or seed, over three weeks ahead of normal. Moisture content of all corn in the field is estimated at 21% while the moisture content of corn being harvested is estimated at 18%.

Corn coming out of the field quite dry in most cases this fall

Corn lodging is rated at 52% none, 29% light, 13% moderate and 6% heavy. Ear droppage is rated at 67% none, 21% light, 10% moderate and 2% heavy. Corn condition declined slightly and is now rated at 21% very poor, 29% poor, 32% fair, 17% good and 1% excellent.

Over 95% of Iowa's soybean crop is turning color, ahead of last year's 89% and five-year average of 90%. Also, 78% of Iowa's soybean fields are dropping leaves, a 24 percentage point increase from last week. As of September 23 Iowa's 2012 soybean crop was 23% harvested, over a week ahead of normal. Soybean lodging is rated at 77% none, 18% light, 5% moderate and 0% heavy. Soybean shattering is rated at 70% none, 17% light, 12% moderate and 1% heavy. Soybean condition is rated 13% very poor, 21% poor, 40% fair, 24% good and 2% excellent.


The survey reports 26% of Iowa's pastures in fair or better condition as of September 23, a slight decrease from the previous week. Pasture and range condition is rated 47% very poor, 27% poor, 21% fair, 5% good and 0% excellent. Livestock fared well with seasonable temperatures experienced last week.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Sept. 23, 2012

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

The week ending September 23 was unseasonably cool with below normal temperatures prevailing every day except Wednesday (September 19). The season's first freeze was recorded at a few scattered northwest Iowa locations on Tuesday (September 18) morning with Sibley reporting 30 degrees. However, much colder weather arrived on the weekend with a freeze recorded over much of the state on Sunday (September 23) morning.

First freeze was recorded in a few northwest Iowa locations

Sheldon and Spencer reported low temperatures of 22 degrees while a light freeze was reported in valley bottom locations all the way south to the Missouri border. On the one warm day Glenwood reported a Wednesday afternoon high of 90 degrees. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 7.5 degrees below normal.

Meanwhile, light rain fell statewide on Monday (September 17) with light to moderate rain over the northeast one-third of the state on Friday (September 23). Additionally there were a few isolated showers and thunderstorms over far eastern and southern Iowa on Wednesday as a strong cold front advanced across the state. Weekly rain totals varied from just a trace at the Red Oak Airport to 0.69 inches at Muscatine. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.17 inches while normal for the week is 0.77 inches. The week ending September 23 was the 18th week of the past 20 with less than normal precipitation.

TAGS: Soybean USDA
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