Harvest ahead of normal despite wet weather

Another week of storms bringing heavy rainfall to much of the state left Iowa farmers just 3.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sept. 23, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops and harvesting corn, soybeans and hay.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 25 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 1 percent short, 87 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels across the state rated 3 percent very short, 5 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. In west central Iowa levels were 2 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 31 percent surplus. While topsoil moisture supplies have improved in south central Iowa, subsoil moisture levels still rated 62 percent short to very short.

Nearly all the corn crop has reached the dent stage or beyond with 74 percent of the crop mature, just over a week ahead of average. Five percent of the state’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, five days ahead of both last year and average. Farmers in southeast Iowa lead the way with almost one-fifth of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 22 percent. Corn condition rated 73 percent good to excellent.

Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop was coloring with 72 percent dropping leaves, one week ahead of average. Eight percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, five days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 72 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 97 percent. Pasture conditions improved slightly to 52 percent good to excellent. Rain and cooler temperatures have been beneficial for pasture regrowth. Feedlots will need some time to dry.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Dr Justin Glisan, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – After an extremely dry week, an active weather pattern returned, bringing above-average rainfall to most of Iowa.

Average temperatures were also up to 10 degrees above normal. Monday, Sept. 20, was generally quiet and warm until thunderstorms raced across northern Iowa during the late afternoon. Some storms turned severe; large hail and high winds were reported in Hancock County. Sioux City (Woodbury County) recorded 2.29 inches of rain.

On Tuesday, thunderstorms were widespread with heavy rain over northern Iowa. Spencer (Clay County) reported 3.04 inches, 2.92 inches above normal. Nearly 15 stations recorded rainfall above 2.00 inches. Severe weather was reported in six counties. Tree damage from straight-line winds and one-inch diameter hail was reported in Jasper County.

Thunderstorms with heavy rain continued across Iowa’s northern third Wednesday, Sept. 19, into Thursday, leading to widespread flood warnings. Two-day rain totals were 2.00 to 5.19 inches above average for more than 30 stations; Everly (Clay County) reported 5.51 inches. Temperatures over this period were hot, with many locations 10-15 degrees above average; high temperatures ranged from the mid-80s into the mid-90s with the exception of northern Iowa, where rain and cloud cover kept temperatures cooler.

A cold front with severe thunderstorms crossed the state Thursday evening. Twelve western counties reported severe winds with 75 mph gusts in Emmet County. The cold front exited Iowa Friday, bringing dry conditions and pleasant temperatures through the weekend. Average highs on Saturday and Sunday were in the upper 60s to low 70s.

Overnight lows dipped into the 40s, with Cresco (Howard County) and Waukon (Allamakee county) recording the week’s low temperature of 36 degrees, seven degrees below normal. Williamsburg (Iowa County) observed the week’s high temperature of 96 degrees on Tuesday, 21 degrees above average.

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