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Weekly Iowa Corn, Soybean Ratings Down Slightly

Weekly Iowa Corn, Soybean Ratings Down Slightly

Despite widespread rainfall in Iowa this past week, condition of the state's corn crop continues to deteriorate in early September. Corn is maturing quickly and widespread harvest is only a couple weeks away.

Last week was the first week of above-average rainfall in six weeks in Iowa, but the condition of the state's corn crop declined again. That's according to results of the statewide weekly weather and crop survey, released September 6, 2011, by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines.

The survey results were gathered based on crop conditions as of September 4, but with the Labor Day Holiday on September 5, they were analyzed and reported on September 6. "The percentage of Iowa's 2011 corn crop that is rated good-to-excellent dropped from 57% for the week ending August 28 to 55% for the week ending September 4," says Greg Thessen, director of the USDA/NASS office in Des Moines. "Nationally, the percentage of good-to-excellent corn dropped from 56% the previous week to 52% as of September 4."

"Much of Iowa received welcome rainfall during the past week," notes Thessen. "Unfortunately, some areas of far northern Iowa reported that the rain came with high winds and hail."

Iowa crop maturing quickly, widespread harvest only a couple weeks away

"Much of the state received needed rain last week that was beneficial for the soybean crop, but unfortunately at times with was accompanied by severe weather that did cause some additional crop damage," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "The crop continues to move quickly towards maturity and widespread harvest is probably just a couple of weeks away."

The complete weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at or on USDA's site at  Here's a quick summary:

Iowa Crop Conditions as of Sept. 4, 2011

                                   This Week                Last Week

                   Fair       Good      Excellent        Excellent

Corn           28%        44%          11%               14%

Soybeans   25%        48%          14%               17%

Average temperature for the week ending September 4 was 70.4 degrees F, 3.8 degrees above normal. Average rainfall for the week was 1.58 inches, 0.69 inches above normal. Iowa enjoyed two statewide rains this past week.

The showers on August 30 brought the state's most widespread rainfall since the night of June 26, with a statewide average of 0.68 inches. The rain was a nice slow soaker in most areas, with the greatest amounts of 1 to 2 inches from southwest, through central, into northeast Iowa. Some more rain fell on September 2 and 3, with a statewide average of 0.90 inches. The heaviest rains of 1 to 2 inches fell across central and east central Iowa areas.

Rains last week came too late to help corn, but did help soybeans

Farmers and yield forecasters have warned that the rains that came last week were probably too late to repair the damage done by the July heat wave during pollination of the Iowa corn crop. The 2011 crop is maturing quickly. On Tuesday September 6 Allendale Inc. projected this year's national corn yield at 147.7 bushels per acre. Informa Economics estimated the U.S. yield at 151 bushels.

Those numbers are a little higher than the 146.3 bushels per acre forecasted by FC Stone and the 147.9 bushels per acre by Pro Farmer. Iowa State University Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor has pegged the 2011 U.S. corn crop at 149 bushels per acre.

The August forecast by USDA estimated the 2011 national yield average at 153 bushels per acre. The U.S. corn yield last year was 153 bushels per acre. In 2009, the national yield was 164 bushels per acre. The latest round of yield forecasts released in recent days tempered a drop in corn prices on Tuesday September 6 on the Chicago Board of Trade. After being down by 14 cents per bushel in mid-morning yesterday, December corn rallied to close down just 3 cents per bushel to $7.46 for the September contract. Soybeans were down 22 cents per bushel to close at $14.13 per bushel on September 6.

Watch for yield update in USDA September Crop Report on September 12

USDA will update its official 2011 corn and soybean yield and production estimates in the government's September Crop Report, which will be released on Monday morning September 12.

Could grain prices rally through harvest like they did last year? That's possible, say market analysts. However, they also ask the question--will there be heavy selling as farmers can sell $7 corn and $14 beans straight out of the field? If a lot of corn is sold as the crop comes out of the field at harvest this fall, that action could temper grain prices.

Corn silage harvest continues, and seed corn is being harvested too

The September 4 weekly crop condition and weather survey results for Iowa show corn silage harvest is continuing and seed corn is being harvested as well.

There were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week ending September 4. Only southeast Iowa had over 6 days suitable. Statewide, topsoil moisture levels increased from the previous week and now rate 10% very short, 29% short, 57% adequate and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture also improved slightly to 11% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate and 2% surplus.

As of September 4, the survey shows 96% of the Iowa corn crop has reached dough stage, slightly behind last year's 97% but ahead of the 5-year average 90%. The survey shows 86% of the corn is at or beyond the dent stage, just behind last year but 17% points ahead of normal. About 14% of the corn crop is now mature, behind last year's 31% and the normal 15%. Corn condition now rates at 6% very poor, 11% poor, 28% fair, 44% good and 11% excellent.

Iowa soybean condition is now rated 48% good and 14% excellent

Statewide as of September 4, the survey shows 16% of soybean fields are turning color, trailing last year's 40% and the 5-year average 33%. Leaves have begun dropping in scattered fields across Iowa. Soybean condition is reported at 4% very poor, 9% poor, 25% fair, 48% good and 14% excellent. Third cutting alfalfa hay harvest advanced to 85% complete, ahead of last year's 79% and the normal 74%. The condition of Iowa's hay crop is reported at 7% very poor, 16% poor, 33% fair, 38% good and 6% excellent.

Pasture and range condition is now rated 9% very poor, 21% poor, 33% fair, 31% good and 6% excellent. Precipitation and cooler temperatures are stirring late pasture growth. Livestock conditions are generally good with a few reports of face flies still on cattle.


IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending Sept. 4, 2011

By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Iowa enjoyed two statewide rain events this past week. Tuesday (Aug. 30) brought the state's most widespread rain since the night of June 26 with a statewide average of 0.68 inches. Tuesday's rains were a nice slow soaker in most areas with greatest amounts of one to two inches from southwest, through central, into northeast Iowa. Even more rain fell on Friday (Sept. 2) and Saturday (Sept. 3) with a statewide average of 0.90 inches. Heaviest rains with the weekend event of one to two inches fell across central and east central areas.

Unfortunately, the rain on Friday was accompanied by high winds and some hail over far northern Iowa during morning and again from west central to northeast Iowa during the evening hours. A pair of isolated severe storms were reported in southeast Iowa on Saturday afternoon Sept. 3. Rain totals for the week varied from 0.22 inch at Sioux City Airport to 4.49 inches near Stanley in Buchanan County. The statewide average rainfall was 1.58 inches last week while normal for the week is 0.89 inch. The week ending September 4 was Iowa's wettest week in ten weeks.

It was Iowa's wettest week in 10 weeks; temperatures warmer than normal

Meanwhile temperatures were near to slightly below normal on Monday and Tuesday while unseasonably warm weather prevailed from Wednesday through Friday (and also into Saturday over the far southeast). Much cooler weather returned over the weekend. Temperature extremes varied from a Thursday (Sept. 1) afternoon high of 102 degrees at Keokuk to a Sunday (Sept. 4) morning low of 44 degrees at Sibley. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from 2 degrees above normal over the northwest to as much as 6 degrees above normal over the far southeast where highs in the mid 90s or above were recorded from Wednesday through Saturday. The statewide average temperature was 3.8 degrees warmer than normal.

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