Farm Progress is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Serving: IA
LAGGING BEHIND: Iowa’s late-planted corn and soybean crops are taking longer to reach maturity this fall.

Harvest 2019 slowly gets underway in Iowa

September ends with only 2% of Iowa’s corn harvested and 3% of soybeans.

The weekly statewide USDA survey released Sept. 30 shows 90% of Iowa’s corn crop has reached dent stage or beyond, 17 days behind last year and nearly two weeks behind the five-year average.

Only 2% of the state’s 2019 corn has been harvested for grain, 11 days behind average. Surveying soybeans, 49% of the crop has begun dropping leaves, two weeks behind last year and nine days behind average. Only 3% of the soybean crop has been harvested in Iowa.

“Troubles at planting continue to show up this season,” says John Markward, farming near Correctionville in northwest Iowa. “We will end up drying a lot of corn at higher moisture content this year. It will come out of the field wetter than usual, which is an added cost. Once you get past mid-October here in northern Iowa, corn doesn’t dry down as much in the field.

“You don’t want to risk losses by letting it stand in the field too long. Weather can turn wet, wild and windy, and you’ll lose bushels as stalks and ears fall on the ground. You pretty much have to go ahead and harvest this corn wetter than you’d like to and dry it artificially.

“Most of the combines are still in the sheds in our area of Iowa, because either the crop isn’t ready or the fields are too wet with all the rain we’ve had recently,” Markward says.

“Wet weather over the past weekend may have kept some farmers out of the fields for a few days, but the 2019 harvest is officially underway across many parts of the state,” notes Iowa Secretary of Ag Mike Naig. “On Sept. 30, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation allowing the transportation of oversize and overweight loads of grain for 60 days during the harvest season. This is a good reminder that we must all watch for slow-moving vehicles on roadways, so everyone has a safe and productive harvest season.”

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report is available on USDA’s site at

Crop report

Iowa farmers experienced wet field conditions as rain continued to fall throughout the state, limiting farmers to 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ended Sept. 29, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities included seeding cover crops; chopping silage; and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans and corn for grain.

Topsoil moisture condition is rated 0% very short, 4% short, 74% adequate and 22% surplus. Subsoil moisture is rated 1% very short, 5% short, 79% adequate and 15% surplus.
Iowa’s corn crop has reached 90% dented stage or beyond, 17 days behind last year and nearly two weeks behind the five-year average. And 36% of the crop reached maturity, 18 days behind last year and two weeks behind average. Only 2% of the corn has been harvested for grain, 11 days behind average. Corn condition is rated 65% good-to-excellent.

For soybeans, 83% of the Iowa crop has begun coloring or beyond, nearly two weeks behind last year and nine days behind average. And 49% of the crop has begun dropping leaves, two weeks behind last year and nine days behind average. Three percent of the state’s soybeans have been harvested, eight days behind average. Soybean condition is rated 63% good-to-excellent.

Third cutting of alfalfa hay is 89% complete, nearly two weeks behind average. Pasture condition is 45% good-to-excellent. Feedlots remain muddy.

Weekly weather summary

An active weather pattern over the Midwest brought wetter-than-average conditions across much of Iowa with the state’s southeast counties reporting totals 3 to 5 inches above normal. The northern one-third of Iowa reported near to slightly below average rainfall. Unseasonable warmth also persisted across Iowa with the statewide average temperature at 62.6 degrees, 3.9 degrees warmer than expected.

This summary for the week ending Sept. 29 comes from Justin Glisan, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Ag. He provides the following daily report.

A low-pressure center moved through Iowa during the day on Sunday (Sept. 22) leaving measurable rainfall statewide. Totals were highest in southern Iowa, generally between 0.25 to 1 inch. Creston (Union County) had 2.1 inches. With cloudy and rainy conditions, high temperatures during the day remained in the mid-to-upper 60s.
Monday (Sept. 23) was warm and mostly sunny with southerly winds boosting daytime temperatures. Highs reached into the upper 70s and low 80s, with a statewide average high of 78 degrees, 6 degrees above normal. Overnight lows remained warmer than average overnight, generally in the lower 60s.

Tuesday was an active weather day as a strong cold front pushed into northwest Iowa during the afternoon hours. Highs reached into the mid-80s as a strong southerly wind pushed moisture into the state. As the cold front encountered these unstable conditions, discrete thunderstorms fired, some of which turned severe relatively fast.

All modes of severe weather were reported with multiple reports of severe hail and straight-line winds. An observer at Holstein (Ida County) reported 1.75-inch-diameter hail. There were also preliminary reports of weak tornadoes in Harrison and Ida counties. Measurable rainfall was reported statewide, generally in the range of 0.10 to 0.75 inch. Higher amounts were observed in western Iowa with Atlantic Municipal Airport (Cass County) with 4.67 inches.

Wednesday started with clouds across northern Iowa transitioning to partly sunny across southern Iowa. Highs varied from low 60s north to mid-70s south. Light rain showers moved through the state’s northern half during the late afternoon and early evening hours, though rain totals were generally around 0.01 inch.

Overnight lows through Thursday morning dipped into the mid-to-upper 40s under generally clear skies. Highs during the day were seasonal, reaching into the low-to-mid 70s. Multiple waves of thunderstorms moved through eastern Iowa on Friday, with the first round moving through the southeast counties during the morning.

Strong to severe thunderstorms popped up later in the afternoon and persisted into Saturday morning. Rain totals ranged from a few tenths of inch at multiple stations to 3.83 inches in Burlington (Des Moines County). Partly to mostly sunny conditions persisted throughout the day though clouds started to move in during evening hours ahead of the next system to bring rain to the state. Daytime highs were in the upper 60s and low 70s. Showers and thunderstorms moved across much of the eastern half of Iowa into early Sunday, with over 20 stations reporting over an inch at 7 a.m. Lamoni Municipal Airport (Decatur County) received 3 inches.

Weekly rainfall totals ranged from 0.01 inch in Everly (Clay County) to 5.48 inches at Atlantic Municipal Airport (Cass County). Statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.38 inches, while normal is 0.74 inch. The week’s high temperature of 87 degrees was reported on Sept. 24 in Carroll (Carroll County), 15 degrees above normal. Estherville (Emmet County) had the week’s low temperature of 41 degrees Saturday, 2 degrees below normal.

TAGS: Weather
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.