Rainfall this past week has kept Iowa farmers from finishing the 2012 corn and soybean harvest, although most farmers are done. The scattered showers improved the topsoil moisture situation but statewide Iowa's subsoil moisture situation is still rated 58% very short, 34% short, 8% adequate and zero percent surplus. That's according to the weekly statewide survey compiled on October 28 by the Iowa field office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service, located in Des Moines.
"After the very hot, dry summer and drier than normal year we've had in 2012 we still need a lot of rainfall to recharge Iowa's subsoil moisture supply by May 2013 planting time," observes Greg Thessen, who directs the weekly Iowa crop conditions survey. It takes two inches of water for every foot of soil profile to get the soil back to as much as it can hold for plants. Corn plants sent roots down as deep as 9 to 10 feet to get moisture in the driest areas of the state this summer. That means some areas need 16 to 18 inches of precipitation to become fully recharged.
Chance of getting subsoil moisture fully recharged for 2013 crop is diminishing
As the calendar is moving into November and freeze-up of the soil will soon occur, time is running out this fall. It doesn't look like there's much chance of Iowa's subsoil getting fully recharged statewide before planting time next spring.
"The state received some much needed moisture last week, but that has slowed progress for farmers still needing to finish harvest," adds Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "Iowa now stands at 95% of corn harvested and 97% of soybeans, both of which are still ahead of average."
The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website or on USDA's site. Here's a summary:
CROP REPORT: 95% of Iowa's corn crop has been harvested, 97% of soybeans
Weather conditions slowed harvest for most of the state for the week ending October 28 as Iowa experienced several cool, rainy days. A few farmers are waiting for fields to dry out enough so they can harvest their remaining acres according to the weekly survey by the Iowa field office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farmers who have completed harvest are putting away their heavy machinery and working on cleanup projects.
There were 3.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 26% very short, 38% short, 35% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture improved and is now rated 58% very short, 34% short, 8% adequate, and zero percent surplus.
Grain movement continues to slow, with 24% of the state seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator. As the harvest season nears completion, 99% of the state reported adequate or surplus off-farm storage capacity and 97% of the state reported adequate or surplus on-farm storage capacity. That's due to the drought-shortened crop size this year.
As harvest nears completion, grain storage capacity is adequate to surplus
As of October 28 in Iowa 95% of the corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, still running one month ahead of normal. Last year at this time, 82% of Iowa's corn crop had been harvested. For soybeans, 97% of the state's 2012 soybean crop has been harvested as of October 28, two weeks ahead of normal.
Only 26% of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated at 47% very poor, 27% poor, 20% fair, 6% good and zero percent excellent. Hay supplies are considered short across 42% of Iowa with 39% of the hay supply considered in good condition. Livestock conditions are generally good.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended October 28, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past week began with much above normal temperatures with frequent showers and thunderstorms. Daytime high temperatures from Monday (October 22) through Wednesday (October 24) ranged from around 60 degrees F over the far northwest to near 80 degrees in the extreme southeast. Showers and thunderstorms brought light to moderate rain to the southeast two-thirds of Iowa on Monday (October 22) morning. A second wave of showers brought light rain to much of the southeast one-half of the state on Tuesday (October 23) morning. Additional showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday morning brought light rain to about the eastern one-third of Iowa.
Finally, an area of rain traversed all of the state from Wednesday (October 24) afternoon into Thursday (October 25) afternoon. Heaviest rains with this last system fell over west central and north central sections. The rain turned to snow in the far northwest early on Thursday and brought a brief accumulation to some areas. Much cooler and drier weather prevailed for the remainder of the week with daytime highs mostly in the 40s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
October is the first month since April to have greater than normal total rainfall
Precipitation totals varied from 0.18 inch near Lester in Lyon County to 2.04 inches at Colwell in Floyd County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.93 inches while normal for the week is 0.56 inches. This pushed the October statewide average to 3.11 inches to make this the first month since April to bring a greater than normal total.
Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Wednesday afternoon high of 83 degrees at Keosauqua to morning lows of 17 degrees at Battle Creek on Saturday and at Belle Plaine and Elkader on Sunday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from 2 to 4 degrees below normal over the far west to 3 to 4 degrees above normal over the central and southeast with a statewide average of 2.1 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures as of Sunday (October 28) cooled to the mid to upper 40s statewide and are expected to average near the same levels for the coming week.