RUNNING BEHIND: As of Nov. 5, farmers have harvested 67% of Iowa’s 2017 corn crop, nine days behind the five-year average. Iowa’s soybean crop is now 92% finished, compared to 96% usually at this time.

Countdown to finishing the 2017 harvest

As of Nov. 5, latest statewide survey shows Iowa corn is now 67% harvested, soybeans 92%.

Dry weather for most of last week allowed many Iowa farmers to make good progress with the 2017 harvest. USDA’s latest weekly survey shows corn harvest was 67% finished as of Nov. 5. That’s up from 44% a week earlier but behind the five-year average of 84%. Iowa soybeans were 92% harvested as of Nov. 5, ahead of the previous week’s 83% but still trailing the five-year average of 96%.

“It was another good week for harvest in Iowa and now 67% of corn and 92% of the state’s beans are in the bin. Corn harvest remains nine days behind the five-year average and beans are six days behind. Hopefully, we can get a couple more weeks of agreeable weather to allow farmers to finish harvest and complete other fall fieldwork,” says Mike Naig, Iowa deputy secretary of agriculture. Weather is forecast to be dry in the central Corn Belt for the next six days.

Nationally, 70% of corn crop harvested
How does Iowa’s progress compare to the U.S. harvest? Nationwide, corn was 70% finished as of Nov. 5, ahead of 54% a week earlier but well behind the five-year average of 83%. Illinois has 83% of its corn acres harvested, up from 73% a week earlier but behind the normal pace of 91%.

The U.S. soybean harvest is 90% finished as of Nov. 5, up from 83% a week earlier but still behind the average of 91%. Matching Iowa’s progress, Illinois farmers were also 92% finished with beans on Nov. 5. Illinois is trailing its five-year average of 94% for soybeans at this time of year. Iowa and Illinois are the two biggest growers of corn and soybeans.

The complete weekly crop and weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship’s site or on USDA’s site The report summary follows.

Summary of Iowa crop conditions
Dry weather for most of the week allowed many Iowa farmers to make good progress with harvest during the seven-day period ending Nov. 5, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork. A wide variety of activities were performed during the week including drying and hauling grain, baling corn stalks, tillage and applying manure and fertilizer.

Topsoil moisture rated 3% very short, 8% short, 83% adequate and 6% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 6% very short, 17% short, 72% adequate and 5% surplus.

Moisture content of corn averaging 17%
The statewide survey shows as of Nov. 5, 67% of Iowa’s 2017 corn crop has been harvested, nine days behind the five-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17%. Farmers in all 9 Iowa crop reporting districts have completed harvest of over half of their corn for grain crop with southeast Iowa farmers leading the way with 77% harvested. Iowa’s soybean crop is now 92% harvested, three days behind last year at this time and six days behind average.

Cattle and calves continue to feed on corn stover as they graze the harvested fields, with limited amounts of hay being fed. Feedlots have started to dry out.

Iowa preliminary weather summary
Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, provides the following summary for the week ending Nov. 5.

It was a cold week with precipitation totals below normal statewide. Temperatures were well below normal for the first half of the week before moderating to near normal by the weekend. A series of light rain events crossed the state, each mainly in northern and eastern Iowa, on October 29 in the afternoon and evening, and on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1. On Nov. 3 light rain fell at night and into the morning of Nov. 4, and some rain came the morning of Nov. 5.

Weekly precipitation totals varied from only sprinkles over about the southwest one-quarter of the state to 0.39 inch at Estherville. Statewide average precipitation was 0.10 inch while normal for the week is 0.55 inch.

Temps for the week averaged 6 degrees below normal
Daytime highs were mostly in the 40s throughout the week, except on Oct. 29 when temperatures briefly climbed into the 60s over the far southwest, where Sidney reached 68 degrees. The most widespread cold came Oct. 31 in the morning when Sheldon and Spencer recorded lows of 14 degrees. Temperatures for the week as a whole for Iowa averaged 6 degrees below normal.

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