DES MOINES – 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.
“The warm and windy weather helped the crop continue to mature and widespread harvest will likely start in the next week or two,” Northey said. “We are in the midst of National Farm Safety and Health week, which runs from September 20 to 26, and is a great reminder to everyone working on the farm or traveling through rural areas to be careful and stay alert during the harvest season.”
A windy, warm, and mostly dry week aided crop maturity for the week ending September 20, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork. Fieldwork for the week included harvesting seed corn, chopping silage, cutting hay, and reports of scattered corn for grain and soybean harvest. Farmers were also preparing farm equipment for the upcoming harvest. Reports indicated seed corn harvest was wrapping up, and corn harvested for grain has had widely varying moisture content.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 11 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 6 percent short, 82 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus.
Ninety-five percent of the corn crop was in the dent stage or beyond, with 49 percent mature, 5 days ahead of last year, but 5 days behind the 5-year average. Corn condition rated 79 percent good to excellent. Eighty-three percent of soybeans were starting to turn color or beyond, while 48 percent of soybeans were dropping leaves, 5 days ahead of 2014, and 2 days ahead of normal. Soybean condition rated 76 percent good to excellent.
The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 89 percent complete, 1 week ahead of last year, but a week behind the average. Pasture condition rated 67 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as good.