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Serving: IA
combine in field
STILL GOING: Snow and rain the past two weeks temporarily idled combines in some areas of Iowa, as harvest 2019 continues.

Farmers battle snow to bring home harvest

As of Nov. 10, farmers have harvested 64% of Iowa’s corn and 91% of its soybeans.

Iowa farmers continue to battle the winter weather over much of the state as they try to complete the 2019 harvest. Intermittent snow and rain the past two weeks have idled combines at times.

Despite the temporary interruptions, farmers now have 64% of the state’s corn crop harvested and 91% of the soybeans, according to USDA’s statewide survey for the week ending Nov. 10. For corn; that’s nine days behind last year and 10 days behind the five-year average.

Iowa agriculture officials and the state’s propane dealers and distributors are still working to try to find solutions to the spot shortages of that fuel, which is holding up grain drying for a number of farmers. Relief is not coming for propane demand anytime soon, as wetter-than-normal grain is coming out of the field, thanks to this year’s later-maturing corn crop. In some case, farmers are also drying soybeans in the bin.

The demand surge for propane is being complicated by abnormally cold November temperatures, which have boosted demand for the fuel to heat livestock barns and rural homes.

“It’s feeling more like winter than fall. Parts of the state reported the lowest overnight temperatures on Nov. 12 since 1986,” notes Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig. “Temperatures are expected to warm up closer to normal by the end of this week, which will help melt some snowpack and allow farmers to resume harvesting.” The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report is available on USDA’s website nass.usda.gov

Crop report

Statewide there were five days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 10, although winter weather moved across Iowa bringing more snowfall to the northern half of the state, according to the USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. There were reports across Iowa concerning propane shortages slowing corn harvest due to the high moisture content of the crop and the need to dry it down. Topsoil moisture condition rated 0% very short, 2% short, 81% adequate and 17% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 0% very short, 2% short, 80% adequate and 18% surplus.

Iowa’s 2019 corn crop is now 64% harvested, nine days behind last year and 10 days behind the five-year average. Farmers in northwest, north-central and southeast Iowa have harvested over 70% of their expected crop, while the northeast Iowa fell further behind with just 47% complete. Average moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain in Iowa was at 20%.

Iowa’s soybean crop was 91% harvested as of Nov. 10, one week behind average. South-central Iowa remained the furthest behind at 71% complete, but closed the gap as producers in that region harvested nearly one-quarter of their expected crop during the week ending Nov. 10.
Cattle continued to battle below-normal temperatures. There were also reports of cattle grazing in cornfields and some feeding of hay in Iowa.

Weekly weather

Cold conditions continued to grip Iowa during the first full week of November. Average temperatures were coldest across northern Iowa, where departures of 10 to 12 degrees below normal were reported. Iowa’s average temperature was 32 degrees F, 7.4 degrees below normal. Unseasonably dry conditions were also observed over most of Iowa, with departures generally between 0.20 to 0.60 inch. Above-average snowfall was also observed across northern Iowa.

That summary for the week of Nov. 4-10 is provided by Justin Glisan, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. He also provides the daily details. 

A center of low pressure moved through Iowa on Sunday (Nov. 3) afternoon and evening, bringing light rain across the state’s northern half. General totals varied from 0.01 to 0.03 inch from Des Moines (Polk County) to Waterloo (Black Hawk County), with the highest accumulations across north-central Iowa. Britt  (Hancock County) reported 0.30 inch, while Elma (Howard County) had 0.36 inch. With cloudy, rainy conditions across much of the state, daytime highs remained in the mid-40s north to low-50s south.

A fast-moving cold front moved across Iowa on Monday (Nov. 4) shifting winds to a northwesterly direction, with high temperatures reaching into the mid-to-upper 40s. Cloudy conditions persisted into Tuesday as overnight lows dipped into the 20s. High pressure moved into the state during the day and was quickly followed by low-pressure systems that brought snowfall along the Iowa-Minnesota border through early Wednesday morning.

As the system was exiting eastern Iowa, another round of light snow moved through much of the state’s northern three-quarters. Three to 4 inches fell across northern Iowa, with locally heavier amounts near Decorah (Winneshiek County), where 6 inches fell. Snow totals tapered off to a dusting toward southern Iowa.
Overnight temperatures into Thursday (Nov. 7) plummeted into single digits in northern Iowa, with lows across southern Iowa remaining in the mid-to-upper teens. The average nighttime temperature was 12 degrees, 20 degrees below average.

A dome of high pressure took control across the Midwest during the day with gradually clearing conditions after sunset. Daytime highs were well below normal, from mid-20s north to low-30s south. As the high pressure slowly moved east, winds shifted out of the south, helping highs on Friday (Nov. 8) rebound into the upper 30s and low 40s under mostly sunny skies.

Temps range from 65 to −3

Saturday (Nov. 9) was the warmest day of the month so far as a warm front lifted north across Iowa. Daytime highs in southwest Iowa reached into the low 60s, with mid-to-upper 50s across much of the rest of the state. Mid-40s were reported in northeast Iowa as a cold northwesterly flow around a low pressure in Wisconsin held temperatures below average. Iowa’s statewide average high was 54 degrees, 4 degrees warmer than normal. Cloud cover moved back into northern Iowa through Sunday morning, with a northerly wind and lows in the mid-to-upper 30s, slightly colder than average.

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from no accumulation at multiple stations in southern Iowa to 0.76 inch in St. Ansgar (Mitchell County). Statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.11 inch, while the normal is 0.52 inch. The average snowfall across Iowa was 0.70 inch.

The week’s high temperature of 65 degrees was reported Nov. 9 at Little Sioux (Harrison County), 15 degrees above normal. The week’s low temperature of −3 degrees was reported on Nov. 8 at Cresco (Howard County), 30 degrees below normal. Soil temperatures as of Sunday were

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