Corn harvest nearly two weeks behind average

A mostly dry week allowed Iowa farmers to progress their harvest with 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Oct. 29, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain and soybeans, spreading manure, applying fertilizers, hauling grain, and starting fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 7 percent short, 83 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 2 percent short, 88 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 6 percent very short, 16 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rate 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus.

Nearly a quarter of the corn for grain crop has been harvested this past week, reaching 44 percent complete (35 percent in west central Iowa), but it still remains nearly two weeks behind the 5-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 19 percent. East central and south east Iowa are the only districts to have over 50 percent of their corn for grain crop harvested. There were several reports of corn yields being better than expected; however, excessive winds this past week has caused lodging in the fields. Corn condition rated 66 percent good to excellent.

Eighty-three percent of the soybean crop was harvested (88 percent in west central Iowa), six days behind average. Southwest, south central, and south east Iowa still has a third or more of their soybean crop to harvest.

Pasture condition remained unchanged from last week at 35 percent good to excellent.

Livestock conditions were reported as normal, with few reports of cattle in fields feeding on stover.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – Relatively mild weather prevailed across Iowa until a strong cold front moved across the state on Thursday, Oc. 26. Daytime highs reached into the 60s over much of Iowa on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with a few 70s recorded on Wednesday and Thursday.

About the northwest one-half of the state recorded a freeze on Friday morning, Oct. 27, while a hard freeze impacted nearly all of Iowa on Saturday morning. Temperature extremes ranged from Thursday afternoon highs of 74 degrees at Burlington, Keokuk and Le Claire to a Saturday morning low of 14 degrees at Little Sioux. All reporting points recorded temperatures of 29 degrees or lower across the state on Saturday.
Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 7.8 degrees below normal.

There were several periods of light precipitation during the week, yet only a small portion of the state, mostly in the far north and east, picked up more than one-tenth of an inch of moisture.

The season’s first snow flurries were recorded between Thursday night and Saturday morning but only a very few northern locations saw any accumulation (and that was short-lived). Weekly precipitation totals varied from nothing measurable over much of southwest and south central Iowa to 0.38 inches at Bellevue. The statewide average was only 0.02 inches while normal for the week is 0.56 inches.

Finally, it was a rather windy week, particularly on Tuesday (52 mph gust at Ottumwa) and on Friday (59 mph gust at Sioux City).

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