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Iowa 2016 corn harvest now 52% complete, soybeans 77%

Iowa 2016 corn harvest now 52% complete, soybeans 77%
Dry and warm weather last week allowed farmers in Iowa to make continued progress in getting crops out of the field.

Dry weather this past week allowed farmers to make very good progress and the 2016 harvest is now 52% complete for corn and 77% complete for beans. That’s according to the latest USDA survey for the week ending October 24. The USDA crop reporters also saw an increasing number of fields turning green as Iowa is having good conditions for cover crop growth this fall.

“This past week’s weather allowed good progress for farmers in our area,” says Mike Witt, ISU Extension field agronomist in west-central Iowa. “Most of the soybeans have been harvested and the corn has been quickly disappearing as well.”

RUNNING BEHIND: Unusually warm weather this past week with very little rain allowed Iowa’s 2016 harvest to progress. But due to slow start earlier this fall, harvest still remains behind both last year and the 5-year average for corn and soybeans.

Corn is coming out of fields at 17% to 19% moisture content
“Talking to area farmers and elevator operators here in my part of northeast Iowa, a fair amount of corn is coming out of the field in the 17% to 19% moisture content range,” says Terry Basol, ISU Extension agronomist at Nashua. “So a lot of farmers are drying the grain down with their own drying systems on the farm before bringing it to the elevator.”

If you are thinking about applying anhydrous ammonia, you want to wait for soil temperature to reach 50 degrees F at the 4-inch depth, and be continuing on a downtrend for the rest of the fall, advise ISU agronomists. This latest weekly survey shows soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth were averaging in the low 50s in northern Iowa to the upper 50s in southern Iowa as of Sunday (Oct. 23).

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at  or on USDA’s site at The report summary follows here:

CROP REPORT: Although there were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week ending October 23, 2016, corn for grain and soybean harvest progress remains behind both the previous year and the five-year average. That’s according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Besides harvest, other activities included chopping and baling cornstalks, tillage and manure applications.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 6% short, 84% adequate and 9% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1% very short, 4% short, 82% adequate and 13% surplus.

Southwest, south central still have half of soybeans to harvest
Statewide, 52% of Iowa’s 2016 corn crop for grain has been harvested, four days behind the five-year average. Moisture content of all corn being harvested was at 17% last week, down 1 percentage point from the previous week. Corn condition rated 83% good to excellent. Southeast Iowa is the only area of the state with over two-thirds of the corn for grain crop harvested. For soybeans, 77% of the crop has been harvested, more than one week behind last year, and six days behind normal. Farmers in southwest and south-central Iowa still have over one-half of their soybean crop to harvest. 

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 12% none, 25% light, 37% moderate and 26% heavy. Off-farm grain storage availability rated 20% short, 75% adequate and 5% surplus. On-farm grain storage availability rated 26% short, 70% adequate and 4% surplus. Pasture condition rated 61% good to excellent. Livestock conditions are excellent, with reports of some cattle being turned out to graze cornstalks. 

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended October 23, 2016
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

It was a very dry week across Iowa with much of the state recording no measurable rainfall. Very light rain fell across parts of extreme northern Iowa from Monday (Oct. 17) into Tuesday (Oct. 18) morning.  Light rain was also scattered over portions of southern and western Iowa between Wednesday (Oct. 19) afternoon and Thursday (Oct. 20) morning.  The maximum rainfall reported was 0.29 inches at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Pottawattamie County. The statewide average rainfall was just 0.01 inch while normal for the week is 0.56 inches.  

Last week was dry across Iowa, and unseasonably warm
Most of the reporting week was unseasonably warm. The warmest day in most areas was Monday (Oct. 17) when highs exceeded 80 degrees over the southeast two-thirds of the state and several locations set new daily record highs. A brief period of cold prevailed on Thursday (Oct. 19) and Friday (Oct. 20) with a freeze over the northeast one-half or so of Iowa on Friday morning. Warmer weather returned over the weekend with daytime highs in the mid-60s to mid-70s. 

Temperature extremes for the week ranged from a Monday (Oct. 17) afternoon high of 91 degrees at Burlington to Friday (Oct. 21) morning lows of 25 degrees at Spencer and Webster City. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.9 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures at the 4-inch depth were averaging in the low 50s north to upper 50s south as of Sunday (Oct. 23).

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