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Serving: IA

Iowa corn harvest 98% complete for 2020

Rod Swoboda combine in field
GIVING THANKS: It’s not often that Iowa farmers have the fall harvest pretty much finished before Thanksgiving.
Soybean harvest is wrapped up, as farmers are busy getting conservation work done.

Only 2% of Iowa’s corn crop is still in the field, while the 2020 soybean crop is now virtually complete. Dry conditions and warmer temperatures allowed Iowa farmers 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 22, according to the weekly USDA statewide survey.

“Farmers have capitalized on the mild and dry weather over the past few weeks to wrap up harvest and complete other fieldwork, including seeding cover crops and installing other conservation practices,” says Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig. “This growing season has been challenging, no doubt. But Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity for us to evaluate the positive food security initiatives and conservation work happening around the state. We all have so many things to be grateful for. Let’s take some time to count our blessings this week.”

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report is available on USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia.

Crop progress

Dry conditions and warmer temperatures allowed Iowa farmers 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 22, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities in Iowa included harvesting corn for grain, baling cornstalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and hauling grain to elevators. Farmers in some areas of the state continue to finish cleaning up debris from the derecho that blew through in August.

Topsoil moisture condition on average statewide is rated 13% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate and zero surplus. Subsoil moisture condition is rated 22% very short, 35% short, 43% adequate and zero surplus. Only 2% of Iowa’s corn for grain crop remains to be harvested, over three weeks ahead of last year and 11 days ahead of the five-year average. In most areas of Iowa, only scattered fields remain to be harvested. Some cornfields damaged by the derecho remain to be disked down. Extra tillage is being done by some farmers out of concern for volunteer corn in 2021 due to the wind-damaged corn this crop year.

No problems with livestock were reported. Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on cornstalks. Some producers are providing supplemental feed for cattle on pastures.

Weather summary

“In a shift from the previous week, unseasonably dry conditions were reported across Iowa, with many locations observing no measurable precipitation during the week that ended Nov. 22,” says Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture. “Coupled with the dryness, temperatures were well above average. They were up to 10 degrees [F] above average in southwest Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 40.4 degrees, 4.6 degrees above normal.”

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from no accumulation at a majority of reporting stations across Iowa to 0.22 inch at Keokuk Lock and Dam 19 (Lee County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.01 inch, while the normal is 0.48 inch, Glisan says. Multiple stations in southern Iowa reported the week’s high temperature of 72 degrees on Nov. 19, on average 26 degrees above normal. Forest City (Winnebago County) reported the week’s low temperature of 13 degrees on Nov. 21, 8 degrees below normal. Four-inch soil temperatures as of Nov. 22 were generally in the low 40s across the state.

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