Iowa's 2014 Harvest Is Off To Slow, Wet Start

Iowa's 2014 Harvest Is Off To Slow, Wet Start

Latest weekly USDA survey shows only 5% of corn and 9% of soybeans harvested as of October 5.

Wet weather this fall has resulted in a very slow start for Iowa's 2014 harvest. Farmers have only been able to harvest 5% of the state's corn and 9% of the soybeans so far in 2014, compared with the 5-year average of 26% for corn and 42% for soybeans. That's according to the weekly survey as of October 5, conducted by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. "Hopefully dry weather and warmer temperatures will allow fields to dry so farmers can get in the fields and make more progress soon," says Greg Thessen, director of the survey for USDA/NASS.

SUNSHINE NEEDED: Iowa's corn and soybean harvest pushed ahead a little bit last week, despite rain that idled farmers for several days. "Hopefully, dry weather and warmer temperatures will allow fields to dry so farmers can get rolling soon," says Greg Thessen, who oversees the weekly USDA survey in Iowa.

The 18 states that grow the majority of corn and soybeans in the U.S. had harvested 17% of the corn acres and 20% of the soybeans as of October 5, 2014. The 5-year average is 32% of corn acres harvested and 35% of soybeans.

Iowa corn moisture content is 27%, continuing to delay harvest
The complete weekly Iowa Crop & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship site or USDA's site. The report summary follows here:

CROP REPORT: Wet conditions have delayed widespread harvest across Iowa during the week ending October 5, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and the start of fall tillage. Farmers were hoping for drier field and crop conditions to enable substantial harvest to begin.

Topsoil moisture rates zero percent very short, 4% short, 80% adequate, and 16% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rate 1% very short, 7% short, 80% adequate, and 12% surplus. Southwest Iowa is wettest with almost half of its topsoil in surplus condition.

Only 5% of Iowa corn harvested, 3 weeks behind normal pace
With almost all of Iowa's corn acreage in or beyond the dent stage, corn mature reached 79 percent, 6 days behind the five-year average. Moisture content of all corn in the field, at 27%, continued to delay harvest. Only 5% of corn has been harvested so far, 3 weeks behind the normal pace. Note that 76% of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition as of October 5.


With almost all of the soybean acreage turning color, 85% of the crop was dropping leaves or beyond, just behind average. Soybean harvest was 9% complete, the lowest percentage harvested by this date in over 30 years. And 74% of the soybean crop was in good to excellent condition.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 95% complete, almost 2 weeks behind the 5-year average. Pasture condition rated 67% good to excellent. Livestock conditions have been normal. There were some reports of weaned calves being moved off pastures.

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

The past week began with unseasonably warm weather with daytime highs mostly in the eighties on Sunday (Sept. 28) with Donnellson recording the highest temperature at 86 degrees. Temperatures slowly cooled, but remained above normal, through Thursday (Oct. 2). Well below normal temperatures prevailed over the weekend. A freeze was recorded over most of northwest Iowa on Saturday (Sept. 4) morning, roughly north of Interstate 80 and west of Interstate 35. A hard freeze was recorded in a few areas with Sibley and Holstein recording lows of 28 degrees early Saturday.

Freeze hit most of northwest Iowa, and areas of northeast Iowa
Another freeze impacted northeastern Iowa on Sunday (Sept. 5) morning, roughly northeast of a Mason City to Cedar Rapids line. Once again a few areas recorded a hard freeze with Elkader and Stanley recording 28 degree lows early Sunday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.1 degrees above normal.

Sunday (Sept. 28) was dry while light rain fell across the northwest one-quarter of Iowa on Monday (Sept. 29). Rain was widespread from Tuesday (Sept. 30) afternoon through Wednesday (Oct. 1) morning with heavy rain over portions of southwest Iowa. Light to moderate rain fell over much of Iowa on Thursday. Finally, snow flurries and/or very light rain fell across northern Iowa Friday evening into Saturday morning. Weekly precipitation totals varied from 0.12 inches at Quasqueton (Buchanan County) to 4.40 inches at Oakland. The statewide average precipitation was 1.25 inches while normal for the week is 0.70 inches. Soil temperatures as of Sunday (Sept. 5) were averaging in the fifties statewide and are expected to remain in that range for the coming week.

TAGS: Soybean
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