Early harvest possible for Iowa corn, soybeans

DES MOINES ? Iowa farmers had 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Aug. 19, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

?Crops progress remains well ahead of average and we are looking at a potentially early harvest if conditions continue to cooperate,? said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig.

?Many parts of the state are welcoming the recent rain showers as they have come during a critically important time in soybean development and should help boost yields,? he added.

Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report is released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service weekly from April through November.

The report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship?s website at or on USDA?s site at

The report summary states:

Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, chopping corn silage, spraying for aphids and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 11 percent very short, 19 percent short, 64 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 10 percent very short, 19 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels in south central and southeast Iowa remain critical with 95 percent or more rated short to very short.

Eighty-five percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, nine days ahead of the five-year average. Corn dented was at 42 percent, nine days ahead of last year. Corn condition rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-eight percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 93 percent setting pods, one week ahead of last year and eight days ahead of the average. Soybean condition declined slightly to 70 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-five percent of the oat crop has been harvested for grain.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 66 percent complete, five days behind the previous year, but eight days ahead of the average. Pasture conditions declined to 41 percent good to excellent. While some feedlots in northwest Iowa have been dealing with mud, dry conditions in southern Iowa have resulted in CRP being released for emergency grazing.


Weather summary

The week started off warm and dry with average daytime highs up to 6 degrees above normal on Aug. 13. DeSoto observed a high of 94 degrees, almost 10 degrees warmer than average.

A low pressure system spinning over eastern Kansas brought rainfall to Iowa?s southern half on Aug. 14, with Des Moines recording 0.51 inches. A few stations from Lamoni to Marshalltown also recorded accumulating rain.

Thundershowers lingered into Aug. 15 with isolated thunderstorms reforming in the afternoon across much of the state. Fifteen stations observed rainfall over 1 inch, with Red Oak reporting 2.49 inches. These storms dissipated by nightfall.

Temperatures were above average during this period, with lower 90s in southern Iowa and upper 80s over the rest of the state. Another convective system moved through on Aug. 16 bringing thunderstorms to a significant portion of Iowa, especially north and east. Davenport observed 2.49 inches.

With rainy conditions, temperatures ranged from near-normal to slightly warmer than average; highs were in the mid-80s in the southeast and lower 80s across the rest of Iowa. A high pressure system brought nice weather on Aug. 17-18, with lingering thundershowers in eastern Iowa on Aug. 17. After a dry Aug. 18, a large low pressure system moved into southwestern Iowa on Aug. 19. As the low slowly moved north, significant accumulations were reported in Harrison, Shelby and Audubon counties. Much of Iowa recorded measurable rainfall with minor accumulation in the southeast quadrant, though weekly rainfall was below average across Iowa?s eastern two-thirds.

Weekend temperatures were seasonal across the western third and slightly warmer than average over the rest of Iowa, with highs ranging from the upper 70s in the northwest to upper 80s in the south.

The weather summary is provided by Justin Glisan, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.