Iowa harvest delayed in some areas as dry, windy weather leads to field fires, USDA says; 12% of corn crop, 21% of soybean crop harvested

DES MOINES, Iowa , October 3, 2011 (press release) – 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.

“One unfortunate risk of dry weather conditions and high winds is an increased risk of fire. Farmers should take extra care as the dry weather continues” Northey said. “If the weather conditions we experienced today continue we should see significant progress this week.”

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:


Dry and windy weather resulted in numerous field fires with law enforcement in some areas asking farmers to temporarily cease harvesting due to the elevated risk of fires. As moisture levels continue to drop, more farmers are harvesting corn, but the primary harvest focus has been on soybeans.

There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels rated 22 percent very short, 36 percent short, 41 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 18 percent very short, 36 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 1 percent surplus. With row crop harvest beginning to hit its stride, twenty-eight percent of the State is seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator.

Ninety-one percent of the corn crop is now mature, 6 days behind last year but one week ahead of normal. Twelve percent of the corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, behind 2010’s 18 percent but ahead of the 10 percent five-year average. The moisture content of the corn left to harvest throughout the State dropped 3 percent from previous week to an average of 24 percent, with the corn currently being harvested running 21 percent moisture content. Corn lodging remains a greater problem than last year, with 16 percent of Iowa’s corn crop experiencing moderate to heavy lodging compared to 5 percent at this time last year. Eight percent of the corn crop is experiencing moderate to heavy ear droppage compared to 4 percent in 2010. Corn condition stands at 5 percent very poor, 10 percent poor, 27 percent fair, 45 percent good, and 13 percent excellent. Ninety-eight percent of the soybean crop has turned color, equal to both last year and the five-year average. Eighty-two percent of Iowa’s soybean fields are dropping leaves, but development still lags 3 days behind last year and normal. Just 21 percent of the soybean crop has been harvested, behind last year’s 34 percent and the normal 30 percent. Soybean lodging is slightly worse than the previous year, but shattering levels are nearly identical to last year at this time. Soybean condition stands at 4 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 23 percent fair, 48 percent good and 17 percent excellent.

Pasture and range condition rated 13 percent very poor, 22 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 24 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Livestock conditions continue to be good with only a few insect issues reported.

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