Seed corn, soybean harvest beginning

DES MOINES ? With another week of widespread rainfall, Iowa farmers had just 2.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sunday, Sept. 9, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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

According to the report summary, activities for the week included harvesting seed corn, chopping corn silage and moving grain.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 65 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 7 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 24 percent surplus. Drought concerns in south central and southeast Iowa were eased after recent storms lifted adequate to surplus topsoil moisture ratings to 75 percent or greater.

Ninety-eight percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond with 87 percent dented or beyond, a week ahead of the five-year average. Twenty-eight percent of the corn crop was mature, also one week ahead of average. Corn condition rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Fifty-eight percent of the soybean crop was coloring with 17 percent dropping leaves, five days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 72 percent good to excellent.

Despite limited days suitable for fieldwork, there were a few reports of both corn for grain and soybeans being harvested.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 83 percent complete, more than a week behind the previous year as weather conditions continued to slow progress.

Pasture conditions improved to 50 percent good to excellent. Heavy rains made feedlot conditions challenging for cattle producers.


Weather summary

The first full week of September had above average precipitation statewide, and temperatures were near to slightly above average, especially in eastern Iowa.

Multiple waves of showers and thunderstorms moved across Iowa Sept. 3-5 bringing locally heavy rain and isolated severe weather. On Labor Day, most of Iowa?s southeastern two-thirds reported rainfall. During the evening hours, two counties in eastern Iowa had tornadic activity; in Linn County, two EF-1 tornadoes with winds between 100 and 110 mph were reported near Cedar Rapids. Minor structural damage, uprooted trees, and blown over crops were observed. Vinton also reported two EF-0 tornadoes with winds in excess of 80 mph.

Sept. 4 many parts of northwestern Iowa that missed out on the Sept. 3 rain received above normal accumulations. Some thunderstorms were severe, with Algona reporting 4.02 inches of rain (3.92 inches above average) and structural damage from a brief tornado touchdown.

A cold front moved through on Sept. 5 bringing widespread measurable rainfall into Sept. 6. Flash flood warnings were issued as slow-moving storms lingered over central and eastern Iowa. Two-day rainfall totals averaged above 1 inch across 75 counties; Montezuma reported 5.20 inches.

Sept. 6 was cooler than average statewide with highs in the low to mid-70s. The southeastern quadrant observed measurable rainfall; Ottumwa reported 0.42 inches. Rain showers moved into Iowa?s southern third early Sept. 7 and lingered into Sept. 8 as the remains of Tropical Depression Gordon moved through Missouri. Rainfall totals were generally under an inch with Bloomfield reporting 1.10 inches.

The rest of the weekend saw pleasant conditions across Iowa. Temperatures were unseasonably cool with highs ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s. Sept. 9 was the nicest day of the week, with generally sunny skies and dry conditions.

Justin Glisan, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, provides the Iowa preliminary weather summary.