Iowa's 2015 corn, soybean crops look good in late August

Iowa's 2015 corn, soybean crops look good in late August

USDA weekly survey shows 82% of Iowa corn crop is good to excellent, soybeans are 77%.

With the rains that much of the state received this past week, most areas of Iowa have adequate moisture to finish out 2015 corn and soybean crops. Crops remain in good condition with 82% of corn and 77% of soybeans rated good to excellent. That's according to USDA's weekly statewide survey, based on conditions as of August 23.

MOVING ALONG: Corn is in denting stage in many fields this week; a few fields have reached maturity in Iowa. Crops in general are looking pretty good in late August. There are some aphids still around in soybean fields but beans are generally too mature to need spraying.

Greg Thessen directs the weekly statewide survey from the USDA/NASS office in Des Moines. He says 89% of Iowa's corn crop has reached dough stage or beyond, with 34% dented or beyond, four days behind the five-year average. There were scattered reports of corn reaching maturity as of August 23. Statewide, soybeans neared completion for blooming, while 90% of soybeans were setting pods, with a few reports of soybeans starting to turn color. Soybean condition rates 77% good to excellent in Iowa.

Nationally, corn crop is 69% good to excellent, beans 63%
The USDA survey showed the nation's corn crop at 69% good to excellent as of August 23. Soybeans were 63%. Nationally, 39% of the U.S. crop was dented, versus 33% last year at this time and 43% for five-year average. Nationwide, soybeans were 87% setting pods, versus 89% a year ago and 88% average.

"Our crop looks good and we aren't going to need any more moisture this summer," says Tom Bindner, in Cherokee County in northwest Iowa. On August 16 it started raining and by the end of the day on August 17 he had 7.25 inches. "There was some wind with the storm last week, but not much damage. The crop still looks pretty good."

In the opposite corner of the state, in southeast Iowa, the early-planted corn is dented and starting to turn color and finish off, says Jeff Hanson in Henry County. Beans made some progress with warm weather earlier in August. But last week the weather turned cooler. "We are seeing some sudden death syndrome in some bean fields," he says.

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

CROP REPORT: Above normal precipitation in western Iowa drove the state average down to 4.1 days suitable for fieldwork, while drier conditions allowed farmers more than five days suitable in east central and southeastern Iowa for the week ending August 23, 2015. Activities for the week included cutting hay, harvesting oats, and fungicide and insecticide applications. There were scattered reports of aphids in fields, as well as minor cases of sudden death syndrome disease in some soybean fields.

Topsoil moisture rated 1% very short, 9% short, 78% adequate and 12% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 1% very short, 8% short, 80% adequate and 11% surplus. Heavy rains in northwest Iowa elevated subsoil moisture levels up 10 points to 89% adequate to surplus this week.


Scattered reports of some corn reaching maturity in Iowa
As of Aug. 23, 89% of Iowa's corn crop reached dough stage or beyond, with 34% dented or beyond, four days behind the five-year average. Scattered reports of corn reaching maturity were received this week. Corn condition rated 82% good to excellent. Soybean blooming statewide neared completion this week while 90% of soybeans were setting pods, with a few reports of soybeans starting to turn color. Soybean condition rated 77% good to excellent. Oats harvested for grain or seed was nearing completion.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 97% complete, while the third cutting of alfalfa hay was 57% complete, four days behind average. Hay condition rated 66% good to excellent, while pasture condition rated 67% good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—For week ending August 23, 2015
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Iowa experienced its coolest week since the last week of May and the wettest week since June 2014. Rain fell over the northwest one-half of Iowa from late Sunday (Aug. 16) afternoon into Monday (Aug. 17) afternoon with torrential rain falling over a wide area from eastern Plymouth County to southwest Kossuth and northwest Humboldt counties. Additional rain fell statewide between Monday afternoon and Tuesday (Aug. 18) night with a broad area of 1 to 2 inch amounts over the northwest two-thirds of Iowa. Some light rain fell over much of the state on Wednesday (Aug. 19).

Statewide average last week was 2.59 inches, normal is 0.93
Dry weather prevailed on Thursday, Friday and into Saturday before another round of thunderstorms developed in western Iowa Saturday afternoon and brought rain to all but the far northwest portion of the state. Overall weekly rain totals varied from only 0.21 inches at Fort Madison to 9.12 inches at Cherokee and 8.16 inches at Remsen. The statewide average was 2.59 inches while normal for the week is 0.93 inches.


Despite recent widespread heavy rains there are a few areas in the state that have been missed, particularly the northeast corner, and could use some rain. Meanwhile, temperatures began the reporting week above normal over all but northwest Iowa on Monday (Aug. 17) with temperature reaching 91 degrees at Donnellson. Much cooler air moved into northwest Iowa on Monday and across all but far eastern Iowa on Tuesday. Wednesday (Aug. 19) and Thursday (Aug. 20) were the coolest days with daytime highs of only 61 degrees recorded at both Northwood and Anamosa on Wednesday while Thursday morning lows dipped to 44 degrees at Sheldon, Sibley and Sioux Center.

Week as a whole averaged 4.7 degrees cooler than normal
A few areas warmed slightly above normal on Saturday (Aug. 22) before much cooler air again moved into Iowa on Sunday (Aug. 23) when Northwood saw an afternoon high of only 66 degrees. The week as a whole averaged 4.7 degrees cooler than normal.

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