Iowa Crops and Weather Report

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey commented Tuesday (Sept. 6) on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

“Crops are moving quickly towards maturity and we are likely a couple of weeks away from the start of widespread harvest activity. We are starting to see some corn being chopped for silage. It is great to see some planes aerially seeding cover crops into standing corn and soybeans to allow them to start growing before the crop is harvested this fall,” Northey said.

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:


Although spotty rains left some areas waterlogged, one of the driest weeks Iowa has seen this season allowed 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork across the State during the week ending September 4, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included chopping corn for silage, planting cover crops and cutting hay.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 5 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 7 percent short, 85 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Ninety-seven percent of the corn crop reached the dough stage or beyond, 8 days ahead of the five-year average, with 80 percent dented or beyond, 5 days ahead of both last year and normal. Fourteen percent of corn had reached maturity, 4 days ahead of last year, but 3 days behind normal. Corn condition rated 83 percent good to excellent. Thirty-five percent of soybeans have started to turn color, 3 days ahead of last year’s pace. Five percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, one day ahead of normal. Soybean condition rated 82 percent good to excellent, despite reports of sudden death (SDS) and white mold in scattered soybean fields.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 87 percent complete, two weeks ahead of last year. A fourth cutting of hay has been possible for some producers. Pasture condition rated 63 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as ideal in some areas.


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

The past reporting week began with warm and humid conditions with scattered thunderstorms from Sunday (28th) evening through Tuesday (30th) afternoon. Dry and much cooler weather prevailed from Tuesday night through Saturday (3rd) with daytime highs mostly in the seventies. Strong southerly winds brought much more humid air into the state Saturday night and Sunday (4th) with scattered thunderstorms Sunday morning and afternoon over small areas of northwest/west Iowa. Much more widespread rain fell across far northwest Iowa on Sunday night but came too late to be reflected in this week’s crop and soil moisture statistics. There were no widespread areas of significant rain, rather hit and miss thunderstorms were the rule. Parts of far northern and eastern Iowa recorded no measurable rain during the week. The Ames Airport reported the most rain with 3.44 inches, nearly all of which fell in one hour on Monday (29th) evening. The statewide average precipitation was 0.47 inches or a little more than one-half the weekly normal of 0.87 inches. Only one week has brought less rain to Iowa in the past 15 weeks. Temperature extremes varied from a Monday (29th) afternoon high of 93 degrees at Burlington to a Friday (2nd) morning low of 46 degrees at Coggon (Linn County). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.6 degrees above normal.