Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
Des Moines, Iowa — October 11, 2011
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
“The dry weather last week helped crops continue to dry down and allowed nearly half of the state’s soybeans to be harvested. Unfortunately, fire does remain a risk as the dry weather persists, so farmers should continue to take extra care while working in their fields,” Northey said. “Harvest remains slightly ahead of the five-year average and will likely continue to advance rapidly if conditions remain dry.”
The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report follows here:
Dry and windy weather accelerated crop dry down and provided the opportunity to harvest nearly half of Iowa’s soybean acres. Unfortunately, reports of soybeans shattering and field fires increased. The lack of moisture has also delayed development of fall seeded crops.
There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 32 percent very short, 41 percent short, 27 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 24 percent very short, 41 percent short, 34 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. With nearly the full week suitable for fieldwork, over half of the State is now seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator. At this point in the harvest season, only 3 percent of the State reports being short off-farm storage capacity and 7 percent of the State reports a shortage of on-farm storage capacity.
Ninety-seven percent of the corn crop is now mature, behind last year’s 99 percent but ahead of the normal 91 percent. Twenty-seven percent of the corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, 3 days behind 2010 but 5 days ahead of the five-year average. The moisture content of the corn left to harvest throughout the State fell 4 percent from previous week to an average of 20 percent, with the corn currently being harvested running 18 percent moisture content. Corn lodging remains a greater problem than normal, with 21 percent of Iowa’s corn crop experiencing moderate to heavy lodging compared to 10 percent on average. Ten percent of the corn crop is experiencing moderate to heavy ear droppage compared to 5 percent normally. Corn condition stands at 5 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 47 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.
Ninety-seven percent of Iowa’s soybean fields are dropping leaves, equal to last year and 1 percentage point ahead of normal. Almost 50 percent of Iowa’s soybean crop was harvested last week, with soybean harvest jumping to 70 percent complete, still behind last year’s 74 percent but 5 days ahead of the average pace. Only two districts, East Central and South Central, have yet to reach 50 percent harvested for soybeans. Soybean shattering levels increased from the previous week to 16 percent moderate to heavy. Soybean condition stands at 4 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 47 percent good and 18 percent excellent.
Pasture and range condition rated 17 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 34 percent fair, 22 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Hay supplies are considered short in 19 percent of Iowa as many producers are already feeding hay as pasture growth is nonexistent due to dry conditions.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY: By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Iowa experienced a very warm and dry week. Daytime highs were in the 80’s in most areas throughout the week with Clarinda, Shenandoah and Sioux City reaching 90 degrees on Tuesday (4th). Overnight temperatures dropped quite low in some areas early in the reporting week with Leon falling to 32 degrees on Monday (3rd) morning but were in the 50’s and 60’s late in the week and over the weekend. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 11.3 degrees above normal. Meanwhile no rain fell across the eastern two-thirds of Iowa this past week. Far northwest Iowa saw a few sprinkles on Thursday while scattered locations over the west saw some occasional light rain on Friday and Saturday. Lester in Lyon County reported the most rain for the week with 0.44 inch. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.01 inch while normal for the week is 0.62 inch. This was the fifth consecutive drier than normal week and tenth week of the past eleven with less than the usual amount of rain.