Iowa farmers took full advantage of dry weather during the first part of last week to finish this year’s harvest and prepare their fields for the 2013 corn and soybean crops.
Eighty-seven percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been harvested for grain or seed, a month ahead of normal, according to the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Last year at this time, only 40 percent of Iowa’s corn crop had been harvested.
Ninety-three percent of the Iowa’s soybean crop has been harvested, three weeks ahead of the usual time completion.
There were 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the week that ended on Sunday. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 50 percent very short, 29 percent short, 21 percent adequate, and zero percent surplus.
A much needed rain moved in Friday evening aiding pastures and settling dust in some areas. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said more rainfall is needed to replenish both topsoil and subsoil moisture levels.
“Now that many farmers have completed harvest, it is important that they wait for soil temperature to be below 50 degrees and falling before doing anhydrous ammonia applications,” Northey said.
Temperatures were below normal from Monday through Friday with readings falling as low as 17 degrees at Sibley on Wednesday morning and 19 degrees at Spencer on Friday morning. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.5 degrees below normal.
Soil temperatures briefly cooled into the 40s last week, but warmed to the mid-to-upper 50s by Sunday and are expected to climb further in the next few days.
Subsoil moisture improved slightly and is now rated 70 percent very short, 25 percent short, 5 percent adequate, and zero percent surplus. Grain movement slowed somewhat, with 45 percent of the state seeing moderate to heavy grain movement from farm to elevator.
Only 22 percent of Iowa’s pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated at 50 percent very poor, 28 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 3 percent good, and zero percent excellent.
Hay supplies are considered short across 41 percent of Iowa with just over two-fifths of the hay supply considered in good condition. There are reports of calves being weaned and sold earlier this year due to a projected shortage of winter hay supplies.