Crops still ahead of normal despite rain slowing work

Soggy conditions persisted for yet another week leaving Iowa farmers just 3.1 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Sept. 30, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included seeding cover crops and harvesting corn, soybeans and hay when weather permitted.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide rated 1 percent very short, 3 percent short, 69 percent adequate and 27 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 65 percent adequate and 35 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 3 percent very short, 5 percent short, 67 percent adequate and 25 percent surplus. In west central Iowa levels rated 1 percent short 78 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus. While topsoil moisture supplies in south central Iowa have improved to above 70 percent rated adequate to surplus, subsoil moisture levels still rated 59 percent short to very short.

Eighty-eight percent of the corn crop was mature, just more than a week ahead of average. Eleven percent of the state’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, five days ahead of average. Farmers in southeast Iowa continue to lead the way with 29 percent of their corn for grain harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested was at 21 percent. Corn condition rated 75 percent good to excellent.

Nearly all of the soybean crop was coloring with 88 percent dropping leaves,nine days ahead of average. Fifteen percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, one day ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 74 percent good to excellent.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was nearly complete at 98 percent. Pasture conditions improved slightly to 53 percent good to excellent. Pastures have responded well to recent rains and cooler temperatures. Muddy conditions made feedlots challenging.

Iowa preliminary weather summary provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – The last week of September brought cooler temperatures, averaging up to four degrees below normal.

Iowa’s center third had above average rainfall sandwiched between below average accumulations in northern and southern Iowa. Monday, Sept. 24, was warm and dry, with average highs between 70 and 80 degrees. The warmest conditions were found in northern Iowa, where highs were up to eight degrees warmer than normal. A cold front moved rapidly across Iowa on Tuesday, bringing locally heavy rainfall to the state’s central and eastern portions. Toledo (Tama County) reported the week’s highest accumulation of 2.18 inches. Some storms turned severe with 60 mph wind gusts and tree damage reported in Linn County. A brief tornado touchdown occurred in Mechanicsville (Cedar County) causing minor damage.

Wednesday, Sept. 26,  was a pleasant day across Iowa with abundant sunshine and unseasonably cool temperatures. Daytime highs averaged in the mid-60s and overnight lows dipped into the lower 40s. Another cold front moved across Iowa on Thursday, bringing light rain showers to the state’s northern half. Guttenberg (Clayton County) reported 0.58 inches of rainfall.  Average highs were in the mid-60s, up to eight degrees cooler than normal.

Rain continued into an unseasonably cool Friday, Sept. 28, with measurable rainfall across much of Iowa. This trend continued into Saturday and Sunday  with spotty showers and thunderstorms across portions of Iowa. Accumulations were generally less than an inch both days. Weekend temperatures were unseasonably cool, with highs in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Holstein (Ida County) observed a high of 48 degrees on Saturday, almost 24 degrees below average; this was the week’s coolest reading. The warmest observation was in Burlington (Des Moines County) with a high of 82 degrees on Wednesday, 10 degrees warmer than average. Statewide average rainfall was about 0.08 inches more than the normal of 0.72 inches.

Print or share article:Print this page
Email this to someone
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook