Harvest winding down during colder than normal weather

Iowa farmers had a rather cold 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 18, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling stalks, applying anhydrous and manure, moving grain, repairing tile, and fall tillage in areas where the ground was not too frozen.

Topsoil moisture levels across Iowa rated 1 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. In west central Iowa topsoil moisture levels rated 88 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture levels statewide rated 2 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 20 percent surplus. Levels in west central Iowa rated 81 percent adequate and 19 percent surplus.

Ninety-one percent of the state’s corn for grain crop has been harvested, four days behind the five-year average. Farmers in northwest and north central Iowa have harvested 96 percent of their corn for grain while farmers in the southwest have 22 percent of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested. Moisture content of field corn being harvested averaged 16 percent.

Soybean harvest was 97 percent complete, five days behind last year and our days behind the average.

Iowa preliminary weather summary by Dr Justin Glisan, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – Iowa experienced an unseasonably cold and dry week during the reporting period.

Average temperatures were coldest in eastern Iowa, up to 12 degrees below normal. The state experienced both rain and snow, though some locations in western Iowa reported no measurable accumulations; statewide average precipitation was 0.17 inches, well below the weekly normal of 0.49 inches.

Light accumulating snow was reported in Keokuk (Lee County) on Monday, Nov. 12, along with colder than normal temperatures statewide. Trace amounts were also reported in central Iowa.

A strong high pressure system over the Great Plains dominated the weather pattern for much of mid-week. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 13-14, were dry statewide with average highs reaching the upper 40s across parts of northwestern Iowa. A southerly wind helped temperatures warm into the upper 40s to middle 50s on Thursday. Northwestern Iowa had daytime highs 10 degrees above average.

Snow moved into Iowa during the afternoon on Friday, Nov.16, and lingered across the state into Saturday. Snowfall totals were more than 3 inches in Iowa’s northeastern third. St. Ansgar (Mitchell County) observed 3.8 inches of snow. Snow showers reformed across Iowa’s southern half later in the day on Saturday before moving out early Sunday. Accumulations ranged from a dusting to more than 6 inches; Beaconsfield (Ringgold County) reported 6.5 inches.

Bitter cold temperatures gripped northern Iowa to end the week. Some locations had overnight lows below zero Saturday night into Sunday. Mason City (Marshall County) reported a low of -6 degrees, breaking the record of -4 degrees set in 1894. Sioux City Airport (Woodbury County) reported the week’s high temperature of 60 degrees on Nov.15, 13 degrees warmer than normal. An overnight low of -6 degrees was reported at New Hampton (Chickasaw County) on the 18th, 28 degrees colder than normal.

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