Farm Progress

Wet weather continues to keep combines out of fields this week in most of Iowa.

Rod Swoboda 1, Editor, Wallaces Farmer

October 2, 2018

4 Min Read
DON’T GET STUCK: Rain persisted for yet another week leaving Iowa farmers just 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sept. 30.

Entering October, Iowa’s 2018 corn crop is 11% harvested. While wet weather has slowed the pace the past couple of weeks, this fall’s corn harvest is still running five days ahead of average. The 2018 soybean crop is 15% harvested as of Oct. 1 in Iowa, one day ahead of average, according to USDA’s latest weekly survey.

Corn harvest progress as of Sept. 30 ranges from only 4% harvested in north-central Iowa to 9% in central Iowa. Southeast Iowa farmers are furthest along, with 29% of their corn harvest now complete. In east-central Iowa, there was some harvesting activity last week, but it was limited by wet weather.

“Rains have obviously slowed down the progress,” notes Tim Kapucian, farming near Keystone in Benton County. “Yields appear to be pretty good overall, for both corn and soybeans.” He adds, “On our farm, we’ve only harvested 25 acres of soybeans and 150 acres of corn so far.”

Harvest still ahead of average
The weekly USDA Crop Progress Report released Oct. 1 pegs the U.S. corn crop as 26% harvested vs. a 17% five-year average. For individual states, Illinois is 48% done picking corn versus a 25% five-year average for this date. Iowa is 11% completed with corn harvest versus 6% for the five-year average. And, Indiana has 27% of its crop out of the fields compared to a 17% five-year average.

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Ag and Land Stewardship’s website at or on USDA’s site at The report summary follows.

Crop report
Soggy conditions persisted for yet another week leaving Iowa farmers just 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sept. 30, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops and harvesting corn, soybeans and hay when weather permitted.

Topsoil moisture is rated 1% very short, 3% short, 69% adequate and 27% surplus as a statewide average. Subsoil moisture is averaging 3% very short, 5% short, 67% adequate and 25% surplus. Topsoil moisture supplies in south-central Iowa, where it was very dry this summer, have improved to where more than 70% of that area is now rated adequate to surplus. However, subsoil moisture levels in that part of the state still rate 59% short to very short.

Corn averages 21% moisture
Iowa’s 2018 corn crop is now 88% mature, running just over a week ahead of average. And 11% of the state’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, five days ahead of average. Farmers in southeast Iowa continue to lead the way with 29% of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 21% as an average for the state last week. Corn condition is rated 75% good to excellent in Iowa.

Nearly all the soybean crop was coloring with 88% dropping leaves, nine days ahead of average. Statewide, 15% of Iowa’s soybean crop has been harvested, one day ahead of average. Soybean condition is rated 74% good-to-excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay, as of Sept. 30, was almost complete, at 98%. Pasture conditions in Iowa improved slightly to 53% good-to-excellent last week. Pastures have responded well to recent rains and cooler temperatures. Muddy conditions have made feedlot cattle management challenging.

Weather summary
According to Justin Glisan, IDALS climatologist, the last week of September brought cooler temperatures, averaging as much as four degrees below normal. The center third of Iowa had above-average rainfall sandwiched between below-average accumulations in the northern third and southern third of the state for the week ending Sept. 30.

The week began warm and dry, with average highs between 70 and 80 degrees F on Sept. 24.

The warmest weather was in northern Iowa, where high temperatures were as much as 8 degrees above normal. A cold front moved rapidly across the state Sept. 25, bringing locally heavy rainfall to the state’s central and eastern portions. Toledo, in Tama County, reported the week’s highest accumulation, which was 2.18 inches of rain.

Some storms turned severe with 60-mph wind gusts and tree damage reported in Linn County.

A brief tornado touched down in Mechanicsville (Cedar County) causing minor damage. Sept. 26 was a pleasant day across Iowa with abundant sunshine and unseasonably cool temperatures. Daytime highs averaged in the mid-60s and overnight lows dipped into the lower 40s.

Another cold front moved across Iowa on Sept. 27, bringing light rain showers to the state’s northern half. Guttenberg (Clayton County) reported 0.58 inch of rainfall. Average highs were in the mid-60s, up to 8 degrees cooler than normal. Rain continued into an unseasonably cool Sept. 28, with measurable rainfall across much of Iowa.

This trend continued into the weekend, with spotty showers and thunderstorms across portions of the state. Accumulations were generally under an inch both days.

Weekend temperatures were unseasonably cool, with highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Holstein (Ida County) observed a high of 48 degrees Sept. 29, almost 24 degrees below average. This was the week’s coolest reading.

The warmest temperature was in Burlington (Des Moines County) with a high of 82 degrees on Sept. 26, 10 degrees above average. Statewide rainfall was about 0.08 inch above the normal of 0.72 inch.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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