Weekend Frost Caused Little Damage To Iowa Crops

Weekend Frost Caused Little Damage To Iowa Crops

Frost was reported in areas of Iowa over the weekend, but not heavy enough to do much harm.

Despite reports of light frost across much of the state this past weekend, Iowa's expected record-large 2014 corn and soybean crops are still in mostly good-to-excellent condition. That's according to the latest weekly crop condition survey issued September 15 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. The report is based on conditions as of Sunday, and is compiled and released on Monday.

ALMOST READY: As of Sept. 14 in Iowa no corn harvest was reported in USDA's weekly survey. The 2014 crop is 19% mature versus the usual 44%, while 13% of the soybeans are dropping leaves versus the usual average of 26%. Rain and cool weather have slowed crop progress.

"Heavy rains restricted fieldwork to only 2.6 days suitable across Iowa during the week ending September 14," notes Greg Thessen, director of the survey for NASS in Des Moines. "Average temperatures for the week were below normal, slowing crop development. Frost was reported across much of the state but caused little damage."

Activities for the week included chopping silage, harvesting hay and seeding cover crops. "The survey shows 19% of the state's corn acreage is now mature," notes Thessen. "That's three days ahead of last year but 11 days behind normal. And 76% of the corn acres are reported in good-to-excellent condition. That's unchanged from the previous two weeks. Looking at soybeans, 74% of Iowa's acreage is in good-to-excellent condition."

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

Another wet week increased soil moisture supplies in Iowa
Yet another week of above normal precipitation increased soil moisture levels across the state. Topsoil moisture rated zero percent very short, 4% short, 76% adequate, and 20% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 1% very short, 8% short, 79% adequate and 12% surplus as of September 14.

Iowa's corn crop reached 83% in or beyond the dent stage, 5 days ahead of the previous year but 4 days behind the 5-year average. Nineteen percent of Iowa's corn acreage was mature, 3 days ahead of last year but 11 days behind normal. Unchanged from previous 2 weeks, 76% of the corn acreage was reported in good to excellent condition. Leaves were changing color on 51% of the soybean crop, 4 days ahead of the previous year, but 4 days behind average. And 74% of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition.


The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 71% complete, just over 2 weeks behind both last year and the 5-year average. Pasture condition rated 66% good-to-excellent. Reports indicate hay conditions were wet with concerns that a third cutting in some fields may not be completed.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Sept. 14, 2014
Provided by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Iowa endured a very cool and wet week last week. Frost was scattered across much of the state on Saturday (Sept. 13) morning with official temperatures dipping to 31 degrees at Elkader, Estherville, Mason City, Sheldon, Sioux Center, Stanley and Webster City. These were the lowest temperatures recorded in Iowa for so early in the season since a 29 degree reading near Elkader on September 10, 1976.

Torrential rains soaked parts of southern Iowa last week
Also of note were torrential rains over portions of the southern one-half of the state between Tuesday (Sept. 9) morning and Wednesday (Sept. 10) morning. Additionally, light to moderate rain fell across all but far southwestern Iowa on Monday (Sept. 8) with statewide light rain from Thursday (Sept. 11) night into Friday (Sept. 12) morning. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.38 inches at Estherville to 5.65 inches at Hartford (Warren County). Statewide average rainfall was 2.26 inches while normal for the week is 0.82 inches. This was the fourth consecutive wetter than normal week. The statewide average month-to-date rainfall has already exceeded the normal for the entire month.

Temperatures were below normal except for a brief warm period from Monday afternoon through Tuesday. Sidney in southwest Iowa recorded the highest temp with a high of 85 degrees on Monday. Temperatures were far below normal from Thursday through the weekend with daytime highs only in the forties in many areas on Friday. Overall, temperatures for the week averaged 9.0 degrees below normal.

Iowa Crop Conditions as of Sept. 14, 2014

Item -Very Poor -Poor -Fair -Good -Excellent

Pasture & Range .......  1%  5%  28%  51% 15%

Corn ..........................  2% 4%  18%  51%  25%

Soybeans ..................   1% 5%  20%  52%  22%

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