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Serving: IA
partly harvested cornfield
STILL STANDING: Iowa normally would have 93% of its corn harvested by Nov. 17; this year it’s 77% due to the late-maturing crop and weather delays.

Iowa corn now 77% harvested, soybeans 95%

Stretch of dry weather last week allowed many farmers to get work done.

A stretch of favorable weather last week across much of Iowa allowed many farmers to get field work done. Iowa’s 2019 corn crop is now 77% harvested, 10 days behind last year and 12 days behind the five-year average. The state’s soybean crop is 95% harvested, more than a week behind average for this date. That’s according to USDA’s latest statewide survey, for the week ending Nov. 17.

Iowa would normally have 93% of its corn harvested by Nov. 17, notes Greg Thessen, regional director for USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, based in Des Moines. This year’s late-maturing crop and early-winter weather also have other northern Corn Belt states running behind normal. Like Iowa, Minnesota only has 77% of its corn harvested. Other state totals are Illinois at 80% vs. a 97% average for the previous five years, and Indiana at 80% complete, versus a 91% five-year average.

North Dakota remains furthest behind, with only 23% of its corn harvested as of Nov. 17, up just a bit from 15% the previous week. Usually North Dakota has 85% of its corn harvested by now. Michigan corn is only 39% harvested, and Wisconsin is at 44%.

Propane shortages for grain drying continue to be a hinderance for a number of farmers, especially in Iowa and Minnesota as they try to dry down their corn crop.

“Four consecutive days of favorable weather allowed many farmers to finish up soybeans last week,” notes Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig. “There is still some corn in the fields, especially in northeast portions of the state which has received above-average snowfall. If we can get another stretch of dry days this week, many farmers will be able to wrap up harvest.”

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report is available on USDA’s website at

Crop report

Snowfall in the first part of the week ending Nov. 17 slowed harvesting in parts of Iowa, limiting farmers to 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Propane shortages continued to be a challenge for farmers across Iowa as they try to dry down their corn crop due to high moisture content. Fieldwork included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling corn stalks, applying anhydrous and fertilizer, and using fall tillage. Topsoil moisture condition rated 0% very short, 2% short, 83% adequate and 15% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 0% very short, 2% short, 83% adequate and 15% surplus.

Iowa’s 2019 corn crop is now 77% harvested, 10 days behind last year and 12 days behind the five-year average. Producers in northwest and north central Iowa have harvested over 85% of their expected crop, while harvest in northeast Iowa was just 58% complete. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain was at 20% last week.

The state’s soybean crop is now 95% harvested, over one week behind average. South-central and southeast Iowa still have more than 10% of their soybean crop remaining to be harvested.
The number of cattle grazing on corn stalks increased last week. There were reports that below-normal temperatures and mud have been stressful on livestock.

Weekly weather

Drier-than-normal conditions persisted across Iowa for the second consecutive week with deficits of up to 0.6 inch in southern Iowa. Above-average snowfall was reported across much of the state, with locations in central and eastern Iowa observing up to 6 inches. Colder-than-normal conditions continued, especially in eastern Iowa where departures of up to 16 degrees below average were reported. Iowa’s average temperature was 25.1 degrees, 11.5 degrees below normal.

That summary for the week ended of Nov. 11-17 is provided by Justin Glisan, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. He also provides the daily details. 

Snow moved across Iowa beginning Sunday (Nov. 10) evening after a partly cloudy day. Daytime highs varied from the low 30s north to low 40s south with northerly winds. The system slowly moved out of southeast Iowa by noon on Veterans Day (Nov. 11). Accumulating snow was reported statewide with a swath of 2 to 4 inches across Iowa’s central third; some stations in central and eastern Iowa reported totals over 4 inches, with Ames (Story County) reporting 4.5 inches and Cedar Falls (Black Hawk County) reporting the highest total at 4.8 inches. The statewide average was 2 inches.

Northerly winds and frigid temperatures were reported after the system passed, with highs only reaching into the mid-teens, anywhere from 20 to 40 degrees below normal. Several locations reported daytime record minimum high temperatures.

A large dome of Canadian high pressure dominated the Midwest into Tuesday as temperatures plummeted, breaking more than 80 low temperature records for the date across Iowa. Gusty southerly winds helped daytime highs rebound slightly in southern Iowa, though snowpack across central and eastern Iowa held readings in the teens.

Another fast-moving system drove through Iowa on Wednesday (Nov. 13), with a wintery mix in west-central Iowa and light snow reported through the evening hours across northern Iowa. The highest snow totals were in northeast Iowa with Elkader (Clayton County) and Fayette (Fayette County) getting 2 inches. Daytime temperatures remained in the low to mid-30s.

Low temperatures into Thursday morning fell into the upper teens and low 20s. Mostly sunny conditions were reported across Iowa through the day with highs reaching into the mid to upper 30s. Dry conditions continued into Friday, with unseasonable warmth across the state’s western two-thirds. Highs reached into the mid-50s, while the remaining snowpack in eastern Iowa helped hold temperatures in the 40s. The average statewide high was 50 degrees, 4 degrees above normal.

Warmer air over the existing snowpack led to foggy conditions into Saturday (Nov. 16) morning with overnight lows remaining above average for much of Iowa. Temperatures fell into the mid to upper 30s, up to 14 degrees warmer than normal in northwest Iowa. Daytime highs remained unseasonably warm for the second consecutive day with southwest Iowa reporting upper 50s.

Cloud cover gradually increased through the evening hours in advance of a cold front that brought light rain across northwest Iowa. Totals at 7 a.m. Sunday (Nov. 17) were generally below 0.10 inch, with 0.12 inch reported in Algona (Kossuth County).

Temps from 59 to −8

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from trace amounts at multiple stations in southern Iowa to 0.55 inch in Jefferson (Greene County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.15 inch, while the normal is 0.49 inch. The average snowfall across Iowa was 1.90 inch.

The week’s high temperature of 59 degrees was reported Nov. 16 at Shenandoah (Page County), 10 degrees above normal. The week’s low temperature of −8 degrees was reported Nov. 12 at Rockwell City (Calhoun County), 35 degrees below normal. Soil temperatures as of Sunday ranged from the low 40s in western Iowa, with gradually cooling into the low to mid-30s into eastern Iowa.

TAGS: Weather
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