Another week of abnormally dry weather helped Iowa farmers continue their early harvest of corn and soybeans.
Thirty-seven percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, over three weeks ahead of normal, according to the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Twenty-three percent of the state’s soybean crop has been harvested, over a week ahead of normal.
There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork in Iowa during the week that ended on Sunday. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 54 percent very short, 36 percent short, 10 percent adequate, and zero percent surplus.
The statewide average precipitation was only 0.17 inches, while normal for the week is 0.77 inches. It marked the 18th week of the past 20 with less than normal precipitation.
A few farmers already have completed their corn harvest. Farmers in northwest Iowa harvested almost one-third of their soybean crop during the week.
Corn condition declined slightly and is now rated at 21 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 17 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.
The moisture content of all corn in the field is estimated at 21 percent, while the moisture content of corn being harvested is estimated at 18 percent. Too much moisture will require the use of propane to dry down the grain before it is stored.
Seventy-eight percent of Iowa’s soybean fields are dropping leaves, a 24 percentage point increase from the previous week. Soybean condition is rated at 13 percent very poor, 21 percent poor, 40 percent fair, 24 percent good, and 2 percent excellent.
“Harvest continues to advance rapidly as farmers work to get corn and beans out before crop conditions deteriorate,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “The weather has been ideal for harvest and has allowed farmers to make significant progress.”
Twenty-six of Iowa’s pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition, a slight decrease from the previous week. Pasture and range condition is rated at 47 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 21 percent fair, 5 percent good, and 0 percent excellent.
Livestock fared well with the seasonable temperatures experienced during the week.
The latest cattle-on-feed report issued Friday showed Iowa’s inventory of cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market is down 1 percent from Aug. 1, but up 8 percent from Sept. 1, 2011.
Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head had 590,000 head on feed, down 2 percent from last month, but up 11 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head had 550,000 head on feed, down 1 percent from last month, but up 4 percent from last year.
Placements during August totaled 159,000 head, an increase of 67 percent from last month and up 13 percent from last year.
Feedlots with a capacity greater than 1,000 head placed 76,000 head, up 46 percent from last month, but down 1 percent from last year. Feedlots with a capacity less than 1,000 head placed 83,000 head, up 93 percent from last month and a 30 percent increase from last year.