Crop Progress Report and Weather Summary

Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Week of August 17-23

DES MOINES, Iowa (Aug. 24, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

“Isolated thunderstorms brought needed rainfall to northern and eastern Iowa towards the end of last week, though much of Iowa missed out,” said Secretary Naig. “With the continued lack of rainfall, drought conditions expanded across the state. High temperatures over the next several days will add to the challenges of moisture stress and the recent derecho.”

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s site at

Crop Progress

Mostly dry weather allowed Iowa farmers 6.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 23, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Dry conditions are now a concern for most of the State. Field activities included harvesting hay and chopping corn silage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 31% very short, 45% short, 24% adequate and 0% surplus. The State’s topsoil moisture condition deteriorated to over three- quarters short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition rated 28% very short, 43% short, 29% adequate and 0% surplus. The State’s subsoil moisture condition fell to almost three-quarters short to very short. These are the highest levels of short to very short topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions since September 2013.

Corn was 91% in the dough stage or beyond, over 2 weeks ahead of the previous year and 6 days ahead of the 5-year average. Almost half of the corn crop was in or beyond dent stage, 12 days ahead of the previous year and 5 days ahead of average. Corn condition rated 50% good to excellent, a drop of 9 percentage points from the previous week and the lowest level this crop season. Soybeans setting pods were 18 days ahead of last year and over a week ahead of average at 95%. Soybean condition fell again this week with the crop now rated 56% good to excellent, the lowest level so far this season. Oats for grain harvest is virtually complete.

Alfalfa hay third cutting was 68% complete, 12 days ahead of last year and 3 days ahead of the 5-year average. Pasture condition fell 10 percentage points this week to just 23% good to excellent. Some farmers have been cleared to hay or graze CRP acres due to drought conditions.

Iowa Preliminary Weather Summary
Provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., State Climatologist Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

A quiet weather pattern persisted through much of the reporting period, perpetuating dry conditions over much of Iowa. Sections of north-central Iowa reported above average rain over the weekend, though extended dryness persists. Drought conditions continue to expand across the region as widespread rains have not yet materialized. Average temperatures varied from unseasonable warmth in northwestern Iowa to cooler than normal conditions in southern and eastern Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 70.8 degrees, 1.1 degree below normal.

A few isolated thunderstorms popped up across western Iowa during late afternoon on Sunday (16th). Daytime highs were in the mid to upper 80s under mostly sunny skies. A small line of thundershowers pushed into northern Iowa overnight, but dissipated shortly thereafter. Rain totals were reported at multiple stations in northern Iowa at 7:00 am on Monday (17th) with the highest totals at a handful of stations in north-central Iowa; Nora Springs (Floyd County) observed 0.57 inch while Grafton (Worth County) reported 0.65 inch. Winds shifted to a northerly direction behind a weak cold front with afternoon temperatures ranging from the upper 70s north to mid 80s south. Some isolated thundershowers formed in southeastern Iowa, though totals were very light. Overnight lows into Tuesday (18th) dipped into the low to mid 50s under starry skies; there were also some isolated upper 40s reported in northern Iowa. The statewide average low was 54 degrees, seven degrees below normal. A dome of high pressure dominated the Midwest lending to pleasant conditions through the day. Highs were near seasonal, generally in the upper 70s and low 80s with a light, variable wind. Wednesday (19th) was another nice day statewide as southerly winds and sunny skies helped boost temperatures into the mid 80s as the high pressure center pushed east of Iowa. Morning lows into Thursday (20th) remained in the upper 50s and low 60s under mostly clear skies. Dry conditions persisted through the day as seasonal temperatures in the low to mid 80s prevailed.

A few thundershowers moved into northern Iowa in the early morning hours on Friday (21st), though rainfall was light. Sunny skies remained through the afternoon as daytime temperatures climbed into the upper 80s with some low 90s observed in western Iowa. Cloud cover increased in northern Iowa overnight as a line of thunderstorms pushed over the Iowa-Minnesota border just after midnight. The complex moved slowly over north-central Iowa and into eastern Iowa during late Saturday (22nd) morning. Daytime highs hit the upper 80s and low 90s in western Iowa with upper 70s and low 80s in eastern Iowa, where clouds and rain were present. Additional showers and thunderstorms fired over portions of the state through the evening hours. Sluggish thunderstorms persisted in eastern Iowa overnight into Sunday (23rd). Measurable rainfall was reported at nearly 80 stations with many of those observations below 0.20 inch; a handful of stations reported an inch or more with Mason City Municipal Airport (Cerro Gordo County) registering 1.22 inches while Northwood (Worth County) observed 1.65 inches. De Witt (Clinton County) and Maquoketa (Jackson County), two stations in eastern Iowa, both reported 2.05 inches.

Weekly rain totals ranged from no accumulation at many stations across Iowa to 3.39 inches at Lake Mills (Winnebago County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.21 inch while the normal is 0.89 inch. Spencer Municipal Airport (Clay County) reported the week’s high temperature of 95 degrees on the 21st, 14 degrees above normal. Several stations reported the week’s low temperature of 47 degrees on the 20th, on average 12 degrees below normal.