Harvest still behind but dry weather helped

Iowa farmers had a good week for harvesting with 5.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Oct. 28, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Taking advantage of the dry conditions, activities for the week included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling stalks, anhydrous and manure application, fall tillage, and planting cover crops.

Topsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 79 percent adequate and 21 percent surplus. Ratings in west central Iowa were 87 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated, 1 percent short, 73 percent adequate and 26 percent surplus. In west central Iowa subsoil moisture levels rated 80 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus.

Forty-nine percent of the state’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, three days ahead of last year but three days behind the five-year average. Farmers in southeast Iowa have harvested 65 percent of their corn for grain while farmers in the northeast and southwest are yet to cross the 40 percent mark on their corn for grain harvest. The corn harvest in west central Iowa was 47 percent complete. Moisture content of field corn being harvested averaged 18 percent. Corn condition rated 69 percent good to excellent.

Soybean harvest was 71 percent complete, a week behind the average. This is the smallest percentage of the soybean crop harvested by Oct. 28 since 2009. West central farmers were a bit ahead of the state average at 77 percent.

Pasture conditions rated 52 percent good to excellent. Feedlots are drying to more favorable condition.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Dr Justin Glisan, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Unseasonably cool and dry conditions continued across Iowa during October’s last full week. Temperatures were generally near normal in western Iowa and up to four degrees cooler than normal in eastern Iowa. Statewide precipitation deficits were largest in southeastern Iowa. Average rainfall was around 0.12 inch; the normal for the week is 0.56 inch.

A warm Monday began the week with highs averaging between the mid-60 and lower 70s. A cold front dropped through Iowa on Tuesday, Oct. 23, bringing cooler temperatures and pleasant conditions. Highs were generally in the 50s with overnight lows dropping into the upper 20s and lower 30s. Spotty rain showers moved into extreme western Iowa late Wednesday with measurable rainfall between 0.10 and 0.25 inch. Light rain lingered into Thursday with highest two-day totals confined to Iowa’s western third ranging between 0.05 and 0.50 inch.

Friday into Saturday, Oct. 26-27, was generally dry, though a weak warm front ahead of a surface low over Minnesota produced isolated showers in eastern Iowa. Highs were in the upper 60s with cloud cover keeping temperatures cooler in the northeast. As the low propagated east, a cold front moved through early Sunday, bringing light rainfall to the northeastern two-thirds of Iowa. Behind the front clear to mostly sunny conditions prevailed with very gusty winds across Iowa’s eastern half. Under clear skies, overnight lows dropped into the upper 20s.

The week’s high temperature of 73 degrees was reported in De Soto (Harrison County) on Oct. 26, about 13 degrees warmer than average. Elkader (Clayton County) and Stanley (Buchannan County) observed the week’s overnight low temperature of 19 degrees on Oct. 22, 16 degrees cooler than normal. The highest weekly total rainfall accumulation of 0.62 inch was observed in Shenandoah (Page County).

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