The dry weather last week helped crops continue to dry down and allowed nearly half of the state's soybeans to be harvested. Unfortunately, fire does remain a risk as the dry weather persists, so farmers should continue to take extra care while working in fields to bring in the crop. Harvest 2011 remains slightly ahead of the five-year average for both corn and soybeans, and will likely continue to advance rapidly if conditions remain dry.
That's the summary of the latest Iowa weekly crop and weather conditions report, based on the statewide survey as of October 9. The report is issued by the Iowa Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service or NASS, located in Des Moines. It shows 27% of the state's corn crop has been harvested for grain as of October 9, and the 2011 soybean harvest is 70% complete. The lack of moisture has delayed development of fall seeded crops.
Iowa corn yield estimated at 169 bu. per acre, soybeans 50.5 bu. for 2011
In other news, USDA's monthly crop production report for October, released October 12, estimates Iowa's 2011 corn crop at 2.3 billion bushels, unchanged from the September report. Iowa's average corn yield is estimated at 169 bushels per acre, compared to the September estimate of 167 bushels per acre. USDA's estimate of corn acres for harvest is down slightly from its September estimate.
For Iowa's 2011 soybean crop, the October USDA estimate is 467.6 million bushels, compared to 464.6 million bushels forecast in September. USDA's soybean yield estimate for Iowa is for a state average of 50.5 bushels per acre, down from the September prediction of 51 bushels per acre. USDA's October estimate of soybean acres for harvest in Iowa is up slightly from September.
Dry and windy weather accelerate crop dry down, keep combines moving
There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week ending October 9, 2011. Topsoil moisture levels rated 32% very short, 41% short, 27% adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 24% very short, 41% short, 34% adequate and 1% surplus. With nearly the full week suitable for fieldwork, over half of the state is now seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator. At this point in the harvest season, only 3% of the state reports being short off-farm storage capacity and 7% of the state reports a shortage of on-farm storage capacity.
As of October 9, 97% of the Iowa corn crop is now mature, behind last year's 99% but ahead of the normal 91%. And 27% of the corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, 3 days behind 2010 but 5 days ahead of the 5-year average. The moisture content of the corn left to harvest throughout the state fell 4% from previous week to an average of 20%, with the corn currently being harvested running 18% moisture content.
Corn lodging this year is a greater problem than normal, so is ear droppage
Corn lodging remains a greater problem than normal, with 21% of Iowa's corn crop experiencing moderate to heavy lodging compared to 10% on average. And 10% of the corn crop is experiencing moderate to heavy ear droppage compared to 5% normally. Corn condition stands at 5% very poor, 9% poor, 27% fair, 47% good, and 12% excellent.
Looking at soybeans, the survey showed 97% of Iowa's soybean fields are dropping leaves, equal to last year and 1 percentage point ahead of normal. Almost 50% of Iowa's soybean crop was harvested last week, with soybean harvest jumping to 70% complete, still behind last year's 74% but 5 days ahead of the average pace. Only two districts, East Central and South Central, have yet to reach 50% harvested for soybeans. Soybean shattering levels increased from the previous week to 16% moderate to heavy. Soybean condition stands at 4% very poor, 8% poor, 23% fair, 47% good and 18% excellent.
Pasture and range condition as of October 9 rate 17% very poor, 23% poor, 34% fair, 22% good and 4% excellent. Hay supplies are considered short in 19% of Iowa as many producers are already feeding hay as pasture growth is nonexistent due to dry conditions.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Oct. 9, 2011
By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Dept. of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
Iowa experienced a very warm and dry week, during the seven days ending October 9, 2011. Daytime highs were in the 80's in most areas throughout the week with Clarinda, Shenandoah and Sioux City reaching 90 degrees on Tuesday (Oct. 4). Overnight temperatures dropped quite low in some areas early in the reporting week with Leon falling to 32 degrees on Monday (Oct. 3) morning but were in the 50's and 60's late in the week and over the weekend.
Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 11.3 degrees above normal. Meanwhile no rain fell across the eastern two-thirds of Iowa this past week.
Ten of the past 11 weeks have had less than the normal amount of rain
Far northwest Iowa saw a few sprinkles on Thursday while scattered locations over the west saw some occasional light rain on Friday and Saturday. The town of Lester in Lyon County in the northwest corner of Iowa reported the most rain for the week with 0.44 inch during the seven days. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.01 inch while normal for the week is 0.62 inch.
The week ending October 9 was the fifth consecutive drier than normal week, and tenth week of the past eleven with less than the usual amount of rain.