Iowa crops and weather report

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Tuesday (Oct. 14) on the Iowa crop progress and condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

“It was good to make some progress with harvest last week but we are still well behind the five year average,” Northey said. “Some parts of the state may have a challenge trying to catch up with harvest due to the wet weather we are experiencing this week.”

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at or on USDA’s site at The report summary follows here:


Mostly dry weather allowed farmers to harvest 30 percent of Iowa’s soybean acreage during the 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending October 12, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Muddy fields, especially in low spots, have slowed harvest across Iowa. Activities for the week included fall tillage and the spread of manure on harvested fields. Cover crops have started to emerge across the State.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 78 percent adequate, and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 80 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus. Southwest Iowa was the wettest with just under half of its topsoil in surplus condition.

Ninety percent of Iowa’s corn acreage was mature, 4 days behind the five-year average. Corn harvest reached 10 percent, almost 3 weeks behind the normal pace. Moisture content of corn at harvest remained high at 23 percent contributing to the slower than normal progress. Seventy-six percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition. Ninety-five percent of the soybean crop was dropping leaves or beyond. Soybean harvest advanced rapidly to 39 percent complete, just over one week behind normal. Seventy-four percent of the soybean acreage was in good to excellent condition.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 15 percent none, 38 percent light, 32 percent moderate, and 15 percent heavy. Off-farm grain storage availability was 8 percent short, 80 percent adequate, and 12 percent surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was 13 percent short, 79 percent adequate, and 8 percent surplus.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was nearing completion, while hay and roughage supplies were estimated at 0 percent very short, 2 percent short, 82 percent adequate, and 16 percent surplus. Pasture condition rated 66 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions have been optimal. Calves were being weaned.


—by Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

It was a relatively cool and dry week across Iowa. Very light rain was scattered across Iowa on Sunday (5th) night and across northeast and far eastern Iowa on Tuesday (7th). Rain fell nearly statewide on Wednesday (8th) night. However, rainfall of more than one-half inch was confined to a narrow band from Monona County east-southeast to Louisa County. Weekly rain totals varied from none over far northeastern Iowa to 1.10 inches at Bagley in Guthrie County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.16 inches, or about one-fourth of the weekly normal of 0.60 inches. This was Iowa’s driest week in eleven weeks. Much of northern Iowa recorded a hard freeze on Saturday (11th) morning with minimum temperatures as low as 25 degrees at Elkader, Mason City and Sheldon. There were also scattered freezes on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday mornings. However, large portions of central and southeast Iowa have yet to record a killing freeze this fall. Temperatures edged slightly above normal in some areas on Tuesday and Wednesday with Burlington the warm spot in the state with a 75 degree maximum on Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from one degree below normal across the southwest to five degrees below normal in the northeast with a statewide average of 3.2 degrees subnormal. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth were averaging in the low fifties in most areas as of Sunday (12th) and are expected to remain near that level for most of the next week to ten days.