Corn harvest lagging but almost finished

Minimal precipitation allowed Iowa farmers to make progress towards completing harvest with 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 19, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting, baling corn stalks, tiling, hauling and spreading manure, applying fertilizers, and planting cover crops.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 9 percent short, 84 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Topsoil moisture levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 87 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 16 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent very short, 8 percent sort, 88 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.

Ninety-two percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, eight days behind last year and the 5-year average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17 percent. Only northeast, southwest, and south central Iowa have more than 10 percent of their corn for grain crop remaining to be harvested.

There were reports of limited stress on livestock; however, fluctuations in temperatures caused lung issues in some calves. Cattle continue to graze in harvested fields with limited hay being fed.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship – There were two episodes of light rain during the week with both events bringing greatest rain amounts over the east and the least over the far northwest.

Light rain fell over about the southeast three-fourths of the state Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, Nov. 14-15, with Keosauqua reporting the most rain with 0.27 inches. Rain fell nearly statewide between Friday morning and Saturday morning with a maximum of 0.83 inches of rain reported at Keokuk.

Weekly rain totals varied from only sprinkles over the far northwest to 0.92 inches at Keokuk. The statewide average precipitation total was 0.24 inches or about half of the weekly normal of 0.49 inches.

Temperatures fluctuated greatly during the week but averaged from about three degrees below normal over the far east to three above normal over the far west with a statewide average of 0.6 degrees below normal.

Daytime high temperatures climbed to 56 degrees at Red Oak and Shenandoah on Tuesday, 57 degrees at Keokuk on Wednesday and 61 degrees at Sidney on Friday. Meanwhile morning lows dipped as low as 12 degrees at Sheldon on Thursday and 14 degrees at Estherville, Mason City and Spencer on Sunday 19th.

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