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Soggy ground could delay 2016 harvest in IowaSoggy ground could delay 2016 harvest in Iowa

Crops are maturing rapidly, with 52% of Iowa's corn at mature stage as of Sept. 18 statewide.

Rod Swoboda 1

September 20, 2016

4 Min Read

The latest weekly Iowa crop condition report issued September 19 indicates half the state’s corn crop is now mature. But many farmers will have to wait for fields to dry before they can get started with their 2016 harvest because of recent heavy rain. The USDA statewide crop progress report is based on conditions for the week ending September 18. It rated Iowa’s corn crop at 83% good to excellent. Iowa’s soybean crop condition is rated 81% good to excellent.


“Much of the state remains very wet and that could delay harvest as farmers wait for fields to dry. With 52% of the state’s corn crop now mature, farmers will be anxious to start harvesting when conditions allow,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. For soybeans, 46% were dropping leaves as of September 18, which is four days ahead of average for this date.

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship website IowaAgriculture.gov  or on USDA’s site nass.usda/gov/ia. The report summary follows here.

Some northern Iowa fields had standing water last week
CROP REPORT: Another week of rain and storms kept farmers out of the fields much of the week ending September 18, 2016, according to the USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were only 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork, but farmers in east central and southeast Iowa had over five days suitable. Activities for the week included chopping corn for silage, seed corn harvest, manure application and cutting hay.

Topsoil moisture levels are rated 1% very short, 3% short, 77% adequate and 19% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels are rated 1% very short, 4% short, 81% adequate and 14% surplus. Crop reporters in the northern third of Iowa noted some fields with standing water.

Crops maturing rapidly, 52% of Iowa corn has reached maturity
As of September 18, the survey shows 95% of the corn crop had reached dent stage or beyond, three days ahead of the five-year average. Crops are maturing rapidly with 52% of corn at the mature stage, three days ahead of last year. There were scattered reports of corn for grain being harvested. Corn condition rated 83% good to excellent. Looking at soybeans, 82% of the state’s soybeans were turning color, two days ahead of last year’s pace. And 46% of soybeans were dropping leaves, four days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 81% good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 95% complete, two weeks ahead of last year. However, the rain made it difficult for some farmers to make dry hay. Pasture condition is rated 66% good to excellent. While moderate temperatures were beneficial for livestock conditions, heavy rains were causing muddy feedlots.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—For week ending September 18, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

As of September 18, rainfall totals averaged above normal for the 10th week among the past 13 weeks. The great majority of last week’s rain fell between Thursday (Sept. 15) morning and Friday (Sept. 16) morning with heaviest rains falling across northwest and west central Iowa. Rain also fell across all but the northwest and southeast corners of the state on Monday (Sept. 12) with a few locations, mainly in the southwest, picking up more than an inch of rain with this early week event.

Statewide rainfall total for week was over twice normal amount
Rain totals for the week as a whole varied from none over small parts of far southeast Iowa such as DeWitt, Muscatine and Burlington to 6.04 inches at Little Sioux in Harrison County. The statewide average precipitation was 2.0 inches while normal for the week is 0.78 inches.

Meanwhile, temperatures were above normal for most of the week with daytime highs climbing into the mid-80s in a few areas on Monday (Sept. 12), Thursday (Sept. 15), Friday (Sept. 16) and Sunday (Sept. 18). Temperature extremes varied from Monday (Sept. 12) afternoon high of 87 degrees at Shenandoah and Sidney to a Wednesday morning low of 40 degrees at Sheldon. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.4 degrees above normal.

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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