The latest weekly USDA survey shows 92% of Iowa’s corn crop has reached dough stage or beyond, eight days ahead of the five-year average. The survey for the week ended Aug. 26 shows 63% of the state’s corn is dented, nine days ahead of last year. And 7% of the crop is mature, nine days ahead of average.
How do your corn and soybeans look in late August? Wallaces Farmer asked that question as the 2018 Farm Progress Show was getting underway at Boone, Iowa.
“We have some corn that still has nice green color here in central Iowa,” says Dustin Ritter, who farms in Dallas County. “Some of that is due to a little later planting date; some could be a later-maturing variety, too. It’s still too early to tell what yields will be.”
Beans benefit from recent rains
Most soybean fields still have a nice green, lush color. “Beans are doing a good job filling pods, especially with the rains we’ve had in August,” notes Ritter.
He adds, “Yields will be variable, both soybeans and corn, depending on whether you caught rain at the right time. Overall, I think corn yield could be above average for many fields. And beans could be significantly higher than average in yield, depending how we finish the growing season.”
“Farmers are chopping silage and we have started to see seed corn harvest getting underway as well,” says Iowa Secretary of Ag Mike Naig. “Much of the state received significant rainfall last week, including parts of southern Iowa which have been in drought condition. Even with that recent rainfall, more than 90% of subsoil in south central and southeast Iowa is still rated short or very short of moisture.”
Iowa farmers had four days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Aug. 26, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Activities for the week included cutting hay, chopping corn silage, harvesting oats for grain, spraying for aphids and moving grain.
Topsoil moisture is rated 7% very short, 14% short, 70% adequate and 9% surplus. Subsoil moisture is 8% very short, 16% short, 70% adequate and 6% surplus. Despite recent rains, subsoil moisture in south central and southeast Iowa continues remain critically low with greater than 90% rated short to very short.
The survey shows 92% of the Iowa corn crop has reached dough stage or beyond, 8 days ahead of the five-year average. Corn dented is at 63%, nine days ahead of last year. And 7% of the corn crop is mature, nine days ahead of average. Seed corn harvest has begun. Corn condition is 73% good to excellent as a statewide average.
Iowa’s 2018 soybean crop is 96% setting pods with 11% coloring, four days ahead of last year and five days ahead of the average. Soybean condition is rated 70% good-to-excellent. Iowa’s oat crop harvested for grain is 98% complete.
Third cutting of alfalfa hay is 75% complete, four days behind previous year but one week ahead of average. Pasture conditions improved slightly to 43% good to excellent last week. Although pastures in south-central and southwest Iowa were able to refresh after receiving much needed precipitation, some farmers still must haul water to livestock.
According to Justin Glisan, IDALS climatologist, cooler conditions were observed statewide for the week ending Aug. 26, with average temperatures as much as 5 degrees below normal in some locations. Much of Iowa also saw above average rainfall accumulation, generally ranging from 1 to 3 inches.
To start the week, a large low-pressure system continued to spin over the state on Aug. 20, bringing heavy rain to northern and western Iowa. Over 50 stations reported rain totals above one inch. Fort Dodge (Webster County) had 3.95 inches. A weak tornado was reported in the evening in Clinton County, damaging crops and trees.
High pressure dominated on Aug. 21, bringing cooler conditions to Iowa. Average highs were well below normal, especially in western Iowa. Denison (Crawford County) had a high of 65 degrees, almost 18 degrees below average. Cool and dry conditions continued into Aug. 22 and over much of Iowa on Aug. 23, as high pressure spread across northern Missouri. Showers and thunderstorms moved into southwest Iowa that morning, bringing measurable rainfall.
Average temps below normal
Another complex of thunderstorms developed along the Iowa-Missouri border early Aug. 24 bringing much needed rain to southeast Iowa. Multiple stations in Appanoose, Davis, and Wapello counties observed rainfall between one and two inches, with isolated totals nearing 3 inches. Severe storms also formed and moved rapidly through northern Iowa, with a few severe hail and high wind reports from Buffalo Center (Kossuth County) to Mason City (Cerro Gordo County).
Leftover thundershowers moved out of eastern Iowa early on Aug. 25, leaving minor accumulations. On Aug. 26 another round of thunderstorms fired along a warm front, with two severe wind reports that evening in north central Iowa.
While it was cooler than normal most of the week, temperatures warmed up for the weekend. Weekend temps were up to 4 degrees warmer across much of Iowa, with Donnellson (Lee County) having the week’s high temperature of 95 degrees.