USDA: Iowa Corn Harvest Two Weeks Behind Normal

By Chelsea Keenan, Reporter

Tom Brown, of rural Muscatine County, unloads his corn from his Case IH combine on Friday, September 14, 2012. (Mark Benischek/The Gazette-KCRG)


By Rachel Begle

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Mostly dry weather in the week that ended on Sunday allowed Iowa farmers to harvest 5 percent of the state's corn and soybean crops.

That's still about two weeks behind normal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop report.

“Harvest is starting to pick up speed with 5 percent of the corn and soybean crop out of the field," said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "Early reports from farmers show yields vary widely across the state.

"It is likely the pace of harvest will continue to increase as the warm dry weather has helped the crop dry down in the field.”

The crop's maturity also is behind schedule. About 61 percent of the state's crop has matured, behind the normal 76 percent. Additionally, about 88 percent of soybeans had turned color, which is eight percentage points behind normal.

Corn crop condition remained about the same with 8 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 32 percent good and 4 percent excellent. The condition of the soybean crop improved slightly to 9 percent very poor, 18 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 31 percent good and 4 percent excellent.

Topsoil moisture levels were rated 35 percent very short, 40 percent short, 25 percent adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 41 percent very short, 39 percent short, 20 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

Southeast Iowa continued to be the driest area of the state with more than 50 percent of topsoil moisture rated in the very short category.
Temperatures last week were above normal and the weather was relatively dry.

Light rain fell over parts of the southwest third of the state on Tuesday morning and over the western one-quarter of Iowa on Friday morning. Light to moderate rain fell statewide on Saturday as the cold front advanced across the state.

Cedar Rapids received .39 inches of rain and Iowa City saw .29 inches of rain. The statewide average precipitation was .28 inches, while normal for the week is 0.74 inches.

With the recent rainfall, pasture condition has improved and was rated 28 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 12 percent good and 1 percent excellent.

At Dyersville Sales, 559 tons of hay was sold on Wednesday and the market was steady with demand fair to good.

Top price was $260 per ton on big square bales of fourth crop alfalfa. Round bales topped at $180 per ton on mixed third crop.

Everyone is trying to finish up the hay for the year in the next week and the balers have been advised to top rolling for the most part has the 2013 hay harvest should be wrapped up.

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