The latest weekly USDA survey shows a turnaround in 2019 harvest progress for Iowa compared to the previous week’s report. Drier weather allowed combines to roll through the fields for three days during the week ending Oct.13.
Farmers have now harvested 7% of the state’s corn crop and 17% of the soybeans. For corn, however, that’s still 18 days behind last year’s pace and nearly two weeks behind the five-year average. For beans, this fall’s Iowa harvest is running nine days behind last year and 11 days behind average.
“The late planting due to wet weather last spring is resulting in a later-maturing corn crop that’s coming out of the field this fall at higher grain moisture content and lower test weight,” says Tim Vincent, farming near Mount Pleasant in southeast Iowa.
Some areas of the state have had drier weather than others this fall and are further along with harvest. “In my area of northwest Iowa, about one-third of the soybeans have now been harvested,” says Joel DeJong, Iowa State University Extension agronomist at Le Mars. “We had several days of good soybean harvesting weather last week with heavy field activity. However, harvesting corn is a different story. As of Oct. 14, my guess is only 2% of the corn for grain has been harvested here.
“Some high-moisture corn has been harvested by cattle feeders. There’s only been a small amount of corn for grain harvested, and we have a long way to go. But we’re finally started with harvest 2019, and hopefully, we can keep the drier weather and combines going this week.”
“Much of Iowa experienced its first hard freeze over the weekend, marking the end of this year’s growing season,” notes Iowa Secretary of Ag Mike Naig. “With an outlook that includes sun, seasonal temperatures and wind, farmers should be able to make good progress in the fields this week.”
USDA says nationally, the U.S. corn harvest is now 22% complete as of Oct. 13, vs. a five-year average of 36%. The soybean crop nationally is now at 26% harvested for 2019, slightly more than half of the five-year average which is 49%.
The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report is available on USDA’s site nass.usda.gov.
In addition to the first freeze of the season, Iowa had drier weather this past week. But wet field conditions remained an issue for farmers as they were limited to 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Oct. 13, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Fieldwork included chopping silage and harvesting hay, seed corn, soybeans and corn for grain.
Topsoil moisture condition rated 0% very short, 1% short, 68% adequate and 31% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 0% very short, 1% short, 73% adequate and 26% surplus.
Nearly all of Iowa’s 2019 corn crop has reached dented stage or beyond at 97% statewide, with 72% reaching maturity, three weeks behind last year and 15 days behind average. Of the corn, 7% has been harvested for grain, 18 days behind last year and nearly two weeks behind average. Corn condition remained unchanged from the previous week at 65% good-to-excellent.
Iowa’s 2019 soybean crop is now 97% coloring or beyond, nearly two weeks behind last year’s maturity and 10 days behind average. And 85% of the crop has begun dropping leaves, 15 days behind last year and 10 days behind average. Iowa farmers have harvested 17% of the soybeans, nine days behind last year and 11 days behind average. Soybean condition rates 64% good-to-excellent.
The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 92%, over three weeks behind average. Pasture condition is 45% good-to-excellent. Livestock have dealt with large temperature fluctuations the past two weeks and feedlots remain muddy.
The first full week of October was unseasonably wet across much of central and southwest Iowa, with rainfall departures ranging from 0.25 to 1.25 inches. Swaths of northwest and eastern Iowa reported from 0.25 to 0.50 inch below-average precipitation. Cooler-than-normal conditions also prevailed statewide with most of Iowa experiencing the first freeze of the season. Statewide average temperature was 49.1 degrees, 3.8 degrees colder than expected.
That’s the summary for the week ended Oct. 13. Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, provides the following daily report.
Light showers moved through extreme southeast Iowa Sunday afternoon (Oct. 6) with only a few stations reporting between one- to two-tenths of an inch. Mostly sunny weather was observed across the rest of the state. High temperatures were in the low to mid-60s, with a light westerly wind. Overnight lows were near to slightly cooler than average, generally in the low to mid 40s. Monday (Oct. 7) was warm and pleasant with highs reaching into the upper 60s and low 70s under clear skies.
A high-pressure center over Missouri allowed these conditions to continue into Tuesday, though temperatures were slightly warmer. Statewide average high was 70 degrees, 5 degrees above normal. Wind speeds increased throughout the day, ranging from 15 to 25 mph, with gusts up to 35 mph across northern Iowa.
Temperatures into Wednesday morning fell into the low to mid 50s, on average 3 degrees above normal. Weather began to shift through the afternoon as a strong low-pressure system over the Dakotas continued to move through the Upper Midwest. Showers slowly moved into western Iowa during the evening and expanded across much of Iowa’s eastern half. Waves of rain continued across the state into Thursday (Oct. 12), as a cold front slowly moved across Iowa.
Stations across northwest Iowa began registering the first freezing and below freezing temperatures of this fall during the morning hours of Friday (Oct. 11), as the cold front continued to push out of Iowa. Rain totals topped 1 inch at over 20 reporting sites, with a gauge in Churdan (Greene County) observing 1.81 inches; statewide average was 0.33 inches.
Brisk winds and cloudy skies held daytime temperatures in the mid-30s across northern Iowa into the low 40s across the south, with the average statewide reading at 41 degrees, 23 degrees below normal. Windy conditions continued throughout the night and into Saturday morning with gradually clearing skies.
Without cloud cover, low temperatures plummeted into the upper 20s and low 30s, producing the first widespread killing freeze of the season for much of Iowa. At 29 degrees, the average low temperature was 11 degrees below normal.
First snowflakes of the season were also reported in northern and eastern Iowa, with Swea City (Kossuth County) getting 2 inches of snow. Multiple stations also reported a trace to 0.80 inch in Sanborn (O’Brien County). Lows into Sunday (Oct. 13) rebounded slightly from the previous night, ranging from 27 degrees at stations in northern Iowa to 37 degrees in Cedar Rapids (Linn County); statewide average low was 30 degrees.
Temps from 74 to 26 degrees
Weekly precipitation totals ranged from 0.02 inch at Dubuque Airport (Dubuque County) to 2.60 inches in Coon Rapids (Carroll County). Statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.72 inch, 0.12 inch above normal.
The week’s high temperature of 74 degrees was reported on Oct. 7 in De Soto (Harrison County) and Oct. 8 at Spencer Municipal Airport (Clay County), 9 degrees above average. Holstein (Ida County) and Shagbark Hills (Woodbury County) had the week’s low temperature of 26 degrees on Oct. 12. This was on average 14 degrees below normal.