Rainy weather slows progress on harvest

Rain throughout most of the week prevented Iowa farmers from spending much time in their fields during the week ending Oct. 8, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were only 2.6 days suitable for fieldwork, the lowest this season since the last week in May. West central Iowa farmers had just 1.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain and soybeans, hauling and drying grain, seeding cover crops, and applying manure.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 9 percent very short, 16 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 16 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 54 percent adequate and 46 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 16 percent very short, 23 percent short, 57 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 2 percent very short, 12 percent short, 75 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus.

Eighty-seven percent of corn had reached maturity or beyond, one week behind last year and two days behind the 5-year average. Eight percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, more than two weeks behind average. Moisture content of corn for grain being harvested averaged 22 percent. Corn condition remained at 60 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-two percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, one day ahead of last year and four days ahead of average. Twenty-six percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, nearly a week behind average. Percent of soybeans harvested varies widely throughout the state, ranging from 9 percent in south central to 47 percent in east central Iowa. In west central Iowa, 20 percent of the soybeans were harvested as of Sunday. Soybean condition rated 62 percent good to excellent.

Pasture condition improved for the second week in a row to 25 percent good to excellent. Pastures have greened up and ponds are starting to fill. Livestock conditions were reported as good, but feedlots are muddy from the recent rains.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – It was a very wet week across most of Iowa excepting small portions of east central and southeast Iowa.

A very slow moving cold front was the focus for two extended periods of rainfall. The first episode began in western Iowa on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 1, and finally departed southeast Iowa on Wednesday morning. The second period of rain moved into western Iowa on Thursday morning and finally exited northeast Iowa on Saturday afternoon.

Both rain periods brought the heavier and more persistent rainfall to western sections of the state. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.32 inches at Bettendorf to 6.94 inches north of New Market in Taylor County. Rain totals of 3 to 5 inches were common over the northwest one-half of Iowa while amounts were mostly under one inch east of a Dubuque/Iowa City/Fairfield line. The statewide average rain amount was 3.05 inches while normal for the week is 0.66 inches. A higher statewide average rain total was last recorded for the week ending July 3, 2014.

Meanwhile temperatures were above normal statewide excepting portions of northwest Iowa on Wednesday when the Spencer airport recorded a morning low temperature of 38 degrees. Highest temperatures were recorded across southeastern Iowa on Monday, Oct. 2, with 88 degrees readings at Burlington, Indianola, Iowa City, Oskaloosa and Ottumwa.

Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 4 to 6 degrees above normal over the northwest and 8 to 10 degrees above normal over the southeast with a statewide average of 7.9 degrees above normal.

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