Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Week of Oct. 19-25, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa (Oct. 26, 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.

“After a relatively dry stretch of weather that moved harvest activities along at a fast pace, a more active pattern brought rain and snow across Iowa over the last several days,” said Secretary Naig. “While Iowa’s harvest progress remains ahead of average, farmers need a return of drier conditions in order to wrap up fieldwork.”

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia.

Crop Progress

Pasture condition rated 18% good to excellent, down 2 percentage points from last week. Cattle producers continue to supplement hay and water supplies. Some cows are grazing on corn stalks.

Measureable snowfall and rain limited Iowa farmers to 3.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 25, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although fieldwork was limited, activities reported included baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer and manure, and fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 11% very short, 29% short, 56% adequate and 4% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 18% very short, 35% short, 45% adequate and 2% surplus.

Over three-quarters of Iowa’s corn for grain has been harvested, more than 3 weeks ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of average. Statewide, the moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain remained at 16%. Farmers in northwest Iowa have only 8% of their corn for grain remaining to be harvested while farmers in south central Iowa still have over 50% to be harvested. 

Only 6% of Iowa’s soybean crop remains to be harvested, 3 weeks ahead of last year and just over 2 weeks ahead of average. Farmers in northwest, north central, west central, and central Iowa have 3% or less of their soybeans remaining to be harvested. In contrast, farmers in the southern one-third of the state have at least 14% of their soybeans yet to be harvested. 

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

Unseasonably cold conditions reigned across Iowa during the reporting period with negative departures of up to 16 degrees over the state’s northwest corner. Temperatures in eastern Iowa were closer to normal, though still four to eight degrees below average; the statewide average temperature was 36.1 degrees, 13 degrees below normal. Early season snow fell across the state with locally heavy amounts in central Iowa. Several waves of showers and thunderstorms also brought measurable rainfall statewide with three to four inches of above average precipitation reported in eastern Iowa. Only parts of western Iowa reported near to below average precipitation amounts.

Snow and rain tapered off through Sunday (18th) afternoon as daytime highs held in the low to mid 40s. Snow totals were light, ranging from trace amounts at several stations to 3.5 inches in Lowden (Cedar County). Monday (19th) was an active weather day as a disturbance brought additional snow across an east-west swath of Iowa. A snow squall warning was issued for the Des Moines metro area as a rapid onset of locally heavy snow reduced visibilities and caused conditions to deteriorate through early afternoon. Over 50 stations reported an inch or more with some locations observing record snowfall for the date; the National Weather Service office in Johnston (Polk County) measured 7.2 inches. Afternoon temperatures felt more like early wintertime with conditions in the 30s, up to 29 degrees below normal. The statewide average high was 37 degrees, 24 degrees colder the normal. Tuesday (20th) was a slightly warmer day with highs ranging from the upper 30s north to mid 40s south under overcast skies. Rain showers were reported through the day with light amounts observed across northern Iowa which persisted into Wednesday (21st). More showers and thunderstorms popped up in eastern Iowa ahead of a warm front lifting north from Missouri. The northwestern half of Iowa saw additional storms overnight into Thursday (22nd) as a strong cold front approached the state. Two-day rainfall totals at 7:00 am showed above two inches at numerous stations in eastern and central Iowa with Des Moines International Airport (Polk County) observing 3.11 inches; the statewide average rainfall was 0.65 inch. With warmer air behind the front, afternoon temperatures were above average across southern Iowa, generally in the upper 70s and low 80s.

Stronger thunderstorms began to fire along the cold front draped across central Iowa during late afternoon and through Friday (23rd) morning. Showers and thunderstorms moved over the same locations in eastern Iowa where 15 stations collected over two inches of rain. Over 100 stations reported an inch or more with the statewide average rainfall of 0.83 inch. Behind the front, windy and cold conditions prevailed under cloudy skies. Daytime highs dropped into the 30s. Overnight lows into Saturday (24th) were some of the coldest of the season as skies cleared. Many stations in northern Iowa registered low to mid-teens, with upper 20s and low 30s across southern Iowa; the statewide average low was 25 degrees, 12 degrees below normal. Partly sunny skies persisted through the day with temperatures in the low 30s in northwest Iowa gradually warming into the low 40s farther southeast. Morning lows on Sunday (25th) dipped down into the mid 20s north to mid 30s south under a light northeasterly wind.

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from 0.11 inch at a rain gauge in Sioux City (Woodbury County) to 5.61 inches at Elkader 6 SSW (Clayton County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.43 inches, while the normal is 0.51 inch. Lamoni (Decatur County) reported the week’s high temperature of 82 degrees on the 22nd, 21 degrees above normal. Estherville Municipal Airport (Emmet County) reported the week’s low temperature of 13 degrees on the 24th, 20 degrees below normal. 

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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 iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov