Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Week of Aug. 31 - Sept. 6

DES MOINES, Iowa (Sept. 8, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

"As fall approaches, corn silage and seed corn harvest is underway across the state. Fall cover crop seeding has also begun," said Secretary Mike Naig. “A more active storm track this week will bring cooler conditions along with multiple chances of much needed rain to drought stricken areas of the state.”

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s site at

Crop Progress

In spite of some locally heavy rain, Iowa farmers had 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 6, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although drought conditions continue to be a concern for most of the State, some areas of northeast and east central Iowa received over an inch of rain during the week. Field activities included harvesting hay, chopping corn silage and harvesting seed corn. There were reports of high moisture corn and a few soybean fields harvested.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 38% very short, 42% short, 20% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 38% very short, 41% short, 21% adequate and 0% surplus. The State’s topsoil and subsoil moisture conditions continue to be over three-quarters short to very short.
Corn was 84% in or beyond dent stage, 18 days ahead of the previous year and 1 week ahead of the 5-year average. Over one-quarter of the crop was mature, almost 3 weeks ahead of last year and just over 1 week ahead of average. Corn condition rated 43% good to excellent, a drop of 2 percentage points from the previous week. Soybeans coloring or beyond advanced to 58%. That is 2 weeks ahead of last year and 1 week ahead of average. Soybeans dropping leaves reached 19% this week, two weeks ahead of last year and 1 week ahead of average. This is the highest percentage dropping leaves by September 6 since 2005. Soybean condition fell again this week with the crop now rated 47% good to excellent, the lowest level so far this season.

Alfalfa hay third cutting was 93% complete, over a month ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Pasture condition fell 4 percentage points this week to just 12% good to excellent. Over half of Iowa’s pastures are in poor to very poor condition. Cattlemen continue supplemental feeding of hay due to deteriorating pasture conditions.

Iowa Preliminary Weather Summary
Provided by Justin Glisan, Ph.D., State Climatologist Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Parts of Iowa received much needed rainfall during the first week of meteorological fall with the northeast one-third of the state reporting above average totals. Dryness continued to grip much of Iowa, however, with deficits on the order of an inch across most of the state. Overall, cooler conditions prevailed during the reporting period with northeast Iowa observing temperatures up to four degrees below normal. The statewide average temperature was 67.7 degrees, 1.6 degrees below normal.

Sunday (30th) was a pleasant day in Iowa with sunny skies and a southerly wind. Daytime highs remained seasonal, generally in the upper 70s and low 80s. Cloud cover increased overnight as a low pressure center pushed into northern Iowa. The low’s attendant cold front swept across Iowa through the day on Monday (31st), firing showers and thunderstorms that left measurable rainfall over much of the state. Afternoon temperatures behind the front fell into the low to mid 70s as skies cleared west to east. Where rain fell, totals were generally between 0.10 inch to 0.30 inch with higher totals reported along Iowa’s northern and southern borders; Lansing (Allamakee County) reported 0.78 inch while Clarinda (Page County) observed 1.13 inches. A secondary complex of thunderstorms moved into southern Iowa along a warm front early on Tuesday (1st) and remained over eastern Iowa for most of the day. Temperatures, in the low to mid 70s, remained cooler than average under cloud cover as the system cleared the state. Rain totals reported at 7:00 am on Wednesday (2nd) for the previous 24 hours showed measurable totals across the state’s southeastern half. Many gauges in south-central and eastern Iowa reported totals above 0.50 inch with several gauges in Wayne County reporting rainfall in the range of 0.89 inch to 1.07 inches; Bedford (Taylor County) observed 1.08 inches. Sunny skies and southwesterly winds pushed highs into the mid 80s to low 90s with a statewide average high of 86 degrees, seven degrees above normal. Overnight lows remained in the 60s with some stations reporting low 70s.

A weak cold front propagated west to east across Iowa beginning early Thursday (3rd) morning with a wind shift to a northerly direction. Windy conditions remained throughout the day, peaking in the 20 to 30 mph range with locally higher gusts. Daytime temperatures stayed in the 70s. Morning temperatures on Friday (4th) were some of the coolest of the season, ranging from the low 40s into the low 50s; the statewide average low was 48 degrees, nine degrees below normal. Conditions during the afternoon were near seasonal with temperatures in the low 80s. Saturday (5th) was a warm day across western Iowa with highs reaching into the upper 80s and low 90s. Conditions in northeastern Iowa were cooler with northerly winds holding temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s. During the late evening, thunderstorms began popping up in north-central Iowa and quickly pushed southeast. Stronger storms, some severe, were embedded within a larger rain shield that brought locally heavy rain through northeast Iowa. There were also several reports of large hail and severe straight-line winds; an 83 mph gust was reported in Titonka (Kossuth County). Widespread rain also fell across a large swath of eastern Iowa with over 60 stations reporting an inch or more at 7:00 am on Sunday (6th). Several gauges in eastern Iowa collected over three inches of rain; Clinton No. 1 (Clinton County) reported 3.07 inches while Monticello (Jones County) reported 5.58 inches. The statewide average rain total was 0.58 inch.

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from no accumulation at several stations in southwest Iowa to 5.78 inches in Monticello (Jones County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.69 inch while the normal is 0.84 inch. Little Sioux 2NW (Harrison County) reported the week’s high temperature of 95 degrees on the 5th, 16 degrees above normal. Elkader 6 SSW (Clayton County) reported the week’s low temperature of 41 degrees on the 4th, 12 degrees below normal.


About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 12 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land for the next generation. Learn more at

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