More than 50% of Iowa's corn, soybean crops harvested

Auctions and Fort Atkinson continue to experience good demand for quality hay

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April 1, 2014 | 1:21 am

Farmers are moving rapidly to harvest Iowa's corn and soybean crops and taking advantage of dry weather to get fall tillage under way.

Fifty-six percent of the state's corn crop and 54 percent of Iowa's soybean crop were in storage bins as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Corn condition improved slightly to 19 percent very poor, 28 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 18 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Moisture content of all corn in the field is estimated at 19 percent while the moisture content of corn being harvested is estimated at 17 percent.

Soybean condition also improved to 11 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 29 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Soybean harvest advanced 31 percentage points from the previous week, with northwest Iowa farmers harvesting 38 percent of their crop in a week.

Topsoil moisture levels declined to 57 percent very short, 36 percent short, 7 percent adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture also declined slightly and is now rated 70 percent very short, 26 percent short, 4 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

With the corn and soybean harvest more than half complete, 56 percent of the state is seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator. Motorists will see more grain trucks on rural roads and state highways in the weeks ahead.

Iowa's pasture and range situation was little changed from previous weeks, with only 24 percent rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated 49 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 4 percent good and zero percent excellent.

Livestock stress was minimal, with no issues reported. Some Iowa producers are moving their cattle to recently harvested corn and soybean fields.

There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork in Iowa during the past week. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said rain was confined to just a few thundershowers early Tuesday over extreme southeast Iowa.

"The statewide average precipitation was a trace, while normal for the week is 0.73 inches," Hillaker said. "The September statewide average precipitation was just 1.63 inches, slightly less than half of normal, and the lowest September total since 1990.

"The first three-quarters of 2012 has been the driest since 1988, averaging nearly eight and three-quarter inches less than usual precipitation."

Auctions in Dyersville and Fort Atkinson continue to experience good demand for quality hay.

The top price on big square bales of premium hay was $280 per ton on several loads last Wednesday at Dyersville Sales Co. Round bales of good quality hay topped at $220 a ton.

At the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, the top price on small square bales was $275 per ton  and round bales topped at $235 per ton.

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