DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig commented recently 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.
“Farmers across the state are finishing harvest. Overall, the weather this fall has been relatively favorable and harvest progress has been ahead compared to previous years,” said Secretary Naig. “Short-term outlooks indicate warmer and wetter conditions, which will be good for soil recharge for the next growing season.”
The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia.
Above-normal rainfall, snow in northwest Iowa, and cooler temperatures only allowed Iowa farmers 4.6 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 15, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Fieldwork activities again included harvesting corn and soybeans, baling cornstalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and tillage.
Topsoil moisture condition rated 13 percent very short, 29 percent short, 57 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 21 percent very short, 34 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.
Only 3 percent of Iowa’s corn for grain crop remains to be harvested, almost 4 weeks ahead of last year and just over 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain remained at 15 percent. Farmers in northwest, north-central, and west-central Iowa have less than 1 percent of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested, while farmers in south-central Iowa still have 10 percent to be harvested.
Only 1 percent of Iowa’s soybean crop remains to be harvested, over 2 weeks ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of average. Only scattered fields are left to be harvested.
Livestock producers continue to allow cattle to graze on cornstalks.
Preliminary Weather Summary
According to by state climatologist Justin Glisan, Ph.D., of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, after the driest reporting period since mid-September, wetter-than-normal conditions returned to Iowa with above average totals reported across a majority of the state. Portions of west-central Iowa observed positive departures nearing 2 inches; only a small section of southeast Iowa reported drier conditions. Temperatures also varied from warmer than normal in eastern Iowa to slightly cooler than normal in the northwest. The statewide average temperature was 39.0 degrees, 2.2 degrees above normal.
Mostly cloudy skies with intermittent peeks of sun were observed statewide on Sunday (November 8). Very windy conditions were also reported, especially across northwestern Iowa, with sustained southerly winds of 30 to 40 mph; wind gusts of up to 47 mph were observed at the Sheldon Municipal Airport (O’Brien County). Daytime highs were also well-above normal with a statewide high of 72 degrees, 22 degrees warmer than average.
Winds died down overnight as a low pressure system approached western Iowa, bringing rainfall during the early morning hours of Monday (November 9). As the low’s attendant cold front pushed west to east, multiple waves of showers and thunderstorms left widespread rain statewide into Tuesday (November 10).
As the front moved out of southeastern Iowa, isolated severe thunderstorms paired with 60 mph wind gusts were reported in Burlington (Des Moines County). Two-day rain totals at 7 a.m. on Veterans Day (November 11) showed measurable precipitation at all reporting stations with the highest totals over a swath from west-central Iowa into north-central Iowa; generally 1.50 to 2.00 inches within this area. More than 100 stations collected an inch or more, with Osage (Mitchell County) observing 2.00 inches, while Mason City (Cerro Gordo County) reported 2.15 inches. Temperatures fell into the mid 20s during late evening across northwestern Iowa as light snow fell on the backside of the low. Snow totals ranged from 0.5 inch at Storm Lake (Buena Vista County) to 6.5 inches in Sibley (Osceola County).
Skies cleared into Thursday (November 12) as winds shifted to a southerly direction. Afternoon temperatures in the state’s southern half were near seasonal, in the low to mid 50s, though about 10 degrees cooler farther north. Overnight lows reported Friday (November 13) morning were frigid in the northwest, where some single-digit temperatures were observed. Much of the state reported temperatures in the teens to low 20s, with the statewide average low of 16 degrees, 12 degrees below normal. A high pressure center sitting over the Midwest brought nice conditions through the day with highs rebounding into the upper 30s north to mid 40s south.
Rain showers pushed into southeastern Iowa early Saturday (November 14) morning as a disturbance began moving across the state. Windy and damp conditions were observed across much of Iowa with highs in the upper 40s and low 50s under overcast skies. Strong winds built in through the evening hours as several waves of showers and a few thunderstorms moved through eastern Iowa ahead of the system; additional pockets of rainfall propagated through Iowa overnight into Sunday (November 15). Rainfall amounts in eastern Iowa were in the range of 0.10 to 0.50 inch with lighter amounts tapering off into western Iowa.
Weekly precipitation totals ranged from 0.10 inch at Estherville 4E (Emmet County) to 2.47 inches in Carroll (Carroll County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.25 inches, while the normal is 0.50 inch. Donnellson (Lee County) and Muscatine (Muscatine County) reported the week’s high temperature of 77 degrees on the November 8, on average 23 degrees above normal. The Estherville Municipal Airport (Emmet County) reported the week’s low temperature of 2 degrees on November 13, 23 degrees below normal. Four-inch soil temperatures as of Sunday were generally in the low 40s.