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Iowa crop and weather report, October 6, 2014

A Mason City farm
A Mason City farm

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented 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.

“The wet weather has resulted in a very slow start to the harvest. Farmers have only been able to harvest 5 percent of corn and 9 percent of soybeans, compared with the five-year average of 26 percent of corn and 42 percent of soybeans harvested,” Northey said. “Hopefully dry weather and warmer temperatures will allow fields to dry so farmers can get in the fields soon.”

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:


Wet conditions have delayed widespread harvest across Iowa during the week ending October 5, 2014, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. There were 3.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and the start of fall tillage. Farmers were hoping for drier field and crop conditions to enable substantial harvest to begin.

Topsoil moisture rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 80 percent adequate, and 16 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 almost half of its topsoil in surplus condition.

With almost all of Iowa’s corn acreage in or beyond the dent stage, corn mature reached 79 percent, 6 days behind the five-year average. Moisture content of all corn in the field, at 27 percent, continued to delay harvest. Only 5 percent of corn has been harvested so far, 3 weeks behind the normal pace. Seventy-six percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition. With almost all of the soybean acreage turning color, 85 percent of the crop was dropping leaves or beyond, just behind average. Soybean harvest was 9 percent complete, the lowest percentage harvested by this date in over 30 years. Seventy-four percent of the soybean crop was in good to excellent condition.

The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 95 percent complete, almost 2 weeks behind the five-year average. Pasture condition rated 67 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions have been normal. There were some reports of weaned calves being moved off pastures.

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

The past week began with unseasonably warm weather with daytime highs mostly in the eighties on Sunday (28th) with Donnellson recording the highest temperature at 86 degrees. Temperatures slowly cooled, but remained above normal, through Thursday (2nd). Well below normal temperatures prevailed over the weekend. A freeze was recorded over most of northwest Iowa on Saturday (4th) morning, roughly north of Interstate 80 and west of Interstate 35. A hard freeze was recorded in a few areas with Sibley and Holstein recording lows of 28 degrees early Saturday. Another freeze impacted northeastern Iowa on Sunday (5th) morning, roughly northeast of a Mason City to Cedar Rapids line. Once again a few areas recorded a hard freeze with Elkader and Stanley recording 28 degree lows early Sunday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.1 degrees above normal. Sunday (28th) was dry while light rain fell across the northwest one-quarter of Iowa on Monday (29th). Rain was widespread from Tuesday (30th) afternoon through Wednesday (1st) morning with heavy rain over portions of southwest Iowa. Light to moderate rain fell over much of Iowa on Thursday. Finally, snow flurries and/or very light rain fell across northern Iowa Friday evening into Saturday morning. Weekly precipitation totals varied from 0.12 inches at Quasqueton (Buchanan County) to 4.40 inches at Oakland. The statewide average precipitation was 1.25 inches while normal for the week is 0.70 inches. Soil temperatures as of Sunday (5th) were averaging in the fifties statewide and are expected to remain in that range for the coming week.

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