Harvest nearly complete; last crop report for 2014

USDA, NASSCold temperatures and snow halted most activities early in the week, but rising temperatures as the weekend neared allowed Iowa farmers 3.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 23, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Some tile and terrace work continued despite the colder temperatures, while warmer weather over the weekend allowed for corn harvest, fall tillage, and fertilizer applications.

Ninety-six percent of Iowa’s corn acreage was harvested, equal to 2013 but two days ahead of the five-year average. Corn harvest in south central Iowa continued to trail behind the rest of the state at only 85 percent complete. Isolated corn fields still remain to be harvested throughout the rest of the state. Soybean harvest was nearly complete with 99 percent of the acreage harvested.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 37 percent moderate to heavy, dropping 11 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated at 93 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was 97 percent adequate to surplus.

Hay and roughage supplies were estimated at 97 percent adequate to surplus. Cold and snowy conditions tested livestock, and some farmers have started to feed hay.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide 5 percent short, 90 percent adequate, and 5 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 1 percent short, 93 percent adequate and 6 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 85 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 2 percent short, 85 adequate and 13 percent surplus.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship: Very cold and mostly dry weather prevailed through Friday, Nov. 21,  across Iowa. Much warmer weather, with some light rain, arrived Friday night. Temperatures remained below freezing across all of Iowa until early on Wednesday, Nov. 19, when temperatures briefly climbed above 32 degrees over extreme western Iowa. Temperatures on Friday climbed above freezing over the southwest one-half of the state and climbed well above freezing statewide on Saturday and through most of Sunday. At Des Moines a streak of 252 consecutive hours with temperatures below freezing ended at noon Friday. This streak was 48 hours longer than previously experienced during 137 years of November weather records at Des Moines (old record was recorded for the last 204 hours of November 1985).

Temperature extremes varied from a Friday morning low of minus 6 degrees at Stanley (Buchanan County) to Saturday afternoon highs of 57 degrees at numerous southeastern Iowa locations. Volunteer weather observer John Beltz reported a high temperature of 28 degrees for the week ending at 7 am Friday, Nov. 21. Low temperate was 3 degrees on Nov. 27. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 14.6 degrees below normal. Soils were frozen to a depth of 5 to 9 inches as of Friday, Nov. 21, but were completely thawed in many areas by Sunday, Nov. 23.

Snow flurries were common each day from Sunday  through Thursday. Beltz reported 2.1 inches of snow on Nov. 16. That equates to .14 inch of precipitation.

Dry weather prevailed on Friday with light rain falling across the southeast one-half of Iowa Friday night into Saturday morning. Donnellson reported the most precipitation with 0.37 inches of rain while much of the northwest one-half of the state recorded only trace amounts. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.03 inches while normal for the week is 0.45 inches. Heavier precipitation fell after the cut-off for this week’s report on Sunday (Nov. 23) with rain amounts over an inch across east central and southeast Iowa while snow accumulated late Sunday night across the northeast one-half of the state.

This is the last NASS crop progress and condition report for this year. The reports will resume in April.

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