Written by on August 30, 2011 in News

DES MOINES – 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.

“Dry weather and destructive storms are continuing to affect crop development and cause concern for farmers as harvest is quickly approaching,” Northey said. “Rain would help the corn crop and be beneficial for beans, both of which are showing stress from the dry weather in many parts of the state.”

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 follows here:


High winds and hail have again affected crops in parts of Iowa. Northwest, north central, west central, and southwest Iowa all report areas damaged by high winds and hail. Most of the state would really like to receive some rain to help bean fill and relieve stress on other crops. Areas in southeast Iowa report receiving less than an inch of rain since the end of June. Corn silage harvest is underway in many areas.

There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Southeast Iowa led the way for the second straight week with all 7.0 days suitable while southwest Iowa had only 4.6 days suitable. Topsoil moisture levels rated 19 percent very short, 33 percent short, 46 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 13 percent very short, 35 percent short, 50 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus.

Nearly all the corn crop has reached milk stage and 92 percent has reached dough stage, behind last year’s 93 percent but ahead of the five-year average 81 percent. Seventy percent of the corn is at or beyond the dent stage, an increase of 29 percentage points from the previous week and 20 percentage points ahead of normal. Four percent of the corn crop is now mature, behind last year’s 10 percent and the normal 5 percent. Corn condition stands at 5 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 14 percent excellent. Nearly all the soybean crop is setting pods. Four percent of soybean fields are turning color, trailing last year’s 15 percent and the five-year average 11 percent. Soybean condition is reported at 4 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 24 percent fair, 47 percent good and 17 percent excellent. Third cutting alfalfa hay harvest advanced to 71 percent complete, ahead of last year’s 67 percent and the normal 60 percent. The condition of the hay crop is reported at 8 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 30 percent fair, 38 percent good, and 7 percent excellent.

Pasture and range condition rated 9 percent very poor, 21 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 30 percent good, and 7 percent excellent. Moderate conditions continue to be favorable for livestock. The need to supplement with hay due to short pastures has already raised concerns for next spring’s hay supplies.

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

The work week began with thunderstorms moving across the southwest one-quarter of the state on Monday (22nd) morning with one to two inches of rain falling in the far southwest. Tuesday (23rd) morning saw more thunderstorms with some one to two inch amounts over the northeast one-third of Iowa. Some of these storms brought large hail and high winds. Wednesday and Thursday were dry while there were a few light rain showers over the southwest one-half on Friday (26th). Saturday was dry while there were scattered mostly light rain showers and thunderstorms over much of the state on Sunday (28th). Some southeast Iowa locations again failed to record any rain this past week with Oskaloosa, Washington, Fairfield and Keokuk among the dry spots. Anamosa reported the most rain for the week with 4.30 inches. The statewide average precipitation was 0.73 inches while normal for the week is 0.93 inches. This was the fifth consecutive week of less than normal rainfall. Temperatures were above normal except on Thursday and Sunday. Highs reached into the 90s in many areas on Tuesday and Wednesday but were only in the 70s on Sunday. Temperature extremes varied from Wednesday afternoon highs of 99 degrees at Keosauqua and Donnellson to a Thursday morning low of 46 degrees at Battle Creek (Ida Co.). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 1.9 degrees above normal.

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