With another week of widespread rainfall, Iowa farmers had just 2.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sept. 9. USDA’s weekly survey shows some seed corn being harvested, corn silage being chopped, and grain hauled to town as farmers clean out bins and prepare for this fall’s harvest.
There were reports of some corn being harvested near Boxholm in west-central Iowa. In southeast and south-central Iowa, drought concerns were eased after a week or more of rainstorms replenished soil moisture supplies. Topsoil moisture in those two southern Iowa areas has risen to 75% or more. The area is now in the adequate to surplus category. Statewide, corn condition is rated 73% good-to-excellent in Iowa.
Corn, beans reaching maturity
“Another week of wet weather kept farmers from the fields and caused significant flooding in parts of the state. Corn and soybeans continue to move toward maturity, and there is likely to be harvest activity starting over the next few weeks as conditions allow,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.
According to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, activities last week included harvesting seed corn, chopping corn silage and moving grain.
Topsoil moisture is now rated 1% very short, 3% short, 65% adequate and 31% surplus. Subsoil moisture is 2% very short, 7% short, 67% adequate and 24% surplus. Drought concerns in south-central and southeast Iowa were eased after recent storms lifted adequate to surplus topsoil moisture ratings to 75% or greater.
Iowa’s corn crop as of Sept. 9 had reached 98% in dough stage or beyond, with 87% dented or beyond, a week ahead of the five-year average. Iowa’s 2018 corn crop is now 28% mature, also a week ahead of average. Corn condition is 73% good-to-excellent.
Also, as of Sept. 9, the survey showed 58% of the Iowa soybean crop was coloring with 17% dropping leaves, five days ahead of average. Soybean condition is rated 72% good-to-excellent. Despite limited days suitable for fieldwork, there were a few reports of both corn for grain and soybeans being harvested.
Third cutting of alfalfa hay was 83% complete, more than a week behind the previous year as weather conditions continued to slow progress. Pasture conditions improved to 50% good-to-excellent. Heavy rains made feedlot conditions challenging for cattle producers.
According to Justin Glisan, IDALS climatologist, the first full week of September had above-average precipitation statewide. Temperatures were near to slightly above-average, especially in eastern Iowa. To start the week, multiple waves of showers and thunderstorms moved across Iowa on Sept. 3-5, bringing locally heavy rain and isolated severe weather.
Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms
On Labor Day, most of Iowa’s southeast two-thirds reported rain. During the evening hours, two counties in eastern Iowa had tornado activity. In Linn County, two EF-1 tornadoes with winds between 100 and 110 mph were reported near Cedar Rapids. Minor structural damage, uprooted trees, and blown over crops were seen. The town of Vinton (Benton County) also reported two EF-0 tornadoes with winds over 80 mph.
On Sept. 4, many parts of northwest Iowa that missed out on Sept. 3’s rain received above-normal accumulations. Some thunderstorms were severe, with Algona (Kossuth County) reporting 4.02 inches of rain (3.92 inches above average) and structural damage from a brief tornado touchdown. A cold front moved through on Sept. 5, bringing widespread measurable rainfall Sept. 6 in Iowa.
Last week wet one across Iowa
Flash-flood warnings were issued as slow-moving storms lingered over central and eastern Iowa. Two-day rainfall totals averaged above 1 inch across 75 counties; Montezuma (Poweshiek County) reported 5.20 inches. Sept. 6 was cooler than average statewide, with highs in the low to mid-70s. The southeast quadrant observed measurable rainfall; Ottumwa (Wapello County) reported 0.42 inches.
Rain showers moved into Iowa’s southern third early Sept. 7 and lingered into Sept. 8, as the remains of Tropical Depression Gordon moved through Missouri. Rainfall totals were generally under an inch, with Bloomfield (Davis County) reporting 1.10 inches.
The rest of the weekend saw pleasant conditions across Iowa. Temperatures were unseasonably cool with highs ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s. Sept. 9 was the nicest day of the week, with generally sunny skies and dry conditions.