Iowa Crops and Weather Report – September 5

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service.  The report is released weekly from April through October.


“As we enter September crops continue to move towards maturity with harvest now just a few weeks away.  It is great to see some farmers aerially seeding cover crops.  Seed corn harvest is also getting underway,” Northey said.


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 summary follows here:




It was a cool dry week in Iowa during the week ending September 3, 2017, according to USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included haying, hauling grain, chopping corn silage, seeding cover crops, and harvesting seed corn.


Topsoil moisture levels rated 13 percent very short, 27 percent short, 59 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. According to the August 29, 2017 U.S. Drought Monitor, areas of south central and southeast Iowa have been in a severe drought for 5 consecutive weeks. Subsoil moisture levels rated 17 percent very short, 31 percent short, 52 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.


Ninety-four percent of the corn crop was in or beyond the dough stage, five days behind last year but three days ahead of the five-year average. Sixty percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, eight days behind last year and three days behind average. Corn condition rated 62 percent good to excellent. Eighteen percent of soybeans have started to turn color, five days behind last year and three days behind average. Soybean condition improved to 61 percent good to excellent. There were scattered reports of disease issues in soybeans such as sudden death syndrome.


The third cutting of alfalfa hay reached 91 percent complete, 8 days ahead of last year and over 2 weeks ahead of average. Pasture condition rated 16 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 24 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Cooler temperatures have been ideal for livestock; however, there were still reports of producers in south central and southeast Iowa feeding hay to cattle due to poor pasture conditions.




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


It was a dry and unseasonably cool week across Iowa. Temperatures were below normal throughout the week except at a few western Iowa locations. Monday (28th) and Friday (1st) were the coolest days in most areas with daytime highs in the seventies. Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Friday (1st) morning lows of 41 degrees at Cresco and Elkader to a Saturday (2nd) afternoon high of 86 degrees at Albia. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from four to seven degrees below normal over the east to slightly above normal in the far northwest with a statewide average of 3.0 degrees subnormal. Most of the week’s rain came on Sunday (27th) when rain was scattered nearly statewide with some very small areas of heavy rain in the Dubuque and Burlington areas. There were some thunderstorms on Monday over extreme eastern Iowa, with some localized heavy rains around Burlington. There were some isolated showers on Thursday (31st), Friday (1st) and Saturday (2nd) but with rain totals mostly under one-tenth of an inch. Asbury in Dubuque County reported the most rain for the week with 3.31 inches while Burlington saw 2.72 inches. Much of central and south central Iowa saw little, if any rain. The statewide average rainfall amount was 0.11 inches while normal for the week is 0.88 inches. This was the state’s driest week in 12 weeks (mid-June). At Fairfield the summer rainfall total (June-July-August) was only 3.51 inches. This was their lowest summer rain total among 137 years of records at that location (old record 3.77 inches in 1911). The Ottumwa Airport recorded even less rain for the summer with 3.38 inches, but this amount ranked a distant second behind 1911’s 1.80 inch total at that location.