Iowa Crop Progress & Condition Report

Week of Sept. 21-27, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa (Sept. 28, 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.

“Over the past week, Iowa saw mostly warmer and drier conditions, allowing harvest to continue across the state,” said Secretary Naig. “A shift in the weather pattern has brought cooler temperatures with forecasts indicating the possibility of the season’s first frost later this week.”

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

Crop Progress

Harvest showed rapid progress as Iowa farmers made the most of 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending September 27, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Field activities also included drilling cover crops, applying fertilizer and manure, and fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 15% very short, 31% short, 53% adequate and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 21% very short, 34% short, 44% adequate and 1% surplus.

Corn was 97% in or beyond dent stage, over 2 weeks ahead of the previous year and 3 days ahead of the 5-year average. Only 18% of the crop has yet to reach maturity, 3 weeks ahead of last year and 9 days ahead of average. Corn harvest for grain reached 12% statewide, almost 3 weeks ahead of last year and 9 days ahead of average. This is the highest percent of corn harvested for grain completed by September 27 since 2012 when 48% of the crop had been harvested. Corn condition rated 42% good to excellent.
Soybeans coloring or beyond advanced to 96%, which is 2 weeks ahead of last year and 1 week ahead of average. Eighty-four percent of the soybean crop was dropping leaves or beyond, 16 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of average. Soybean harvest was 30% complete, 19 days ahead of last year and 12 days ahead of average. This was the largest proportion of soybeans harvested by September 27 since 2012 when 41% had been harvested. Farmers in northwest and west central Iowa continue to lead the way with almost half of their soybean acreage harvested. Soybean condition rated 47% good to excellent.

Pasture condition rated 20% good to excellent, an increase of 3 percentage points from the previous week. Livestock felt the effect of changing temperatures. Low levels of water in ponds and creeks have made providing water for cows on pasture a challenge for some producers.

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

Widespread dry conditions persisted through the last full week of September though measurable rainfall was reported at stations in northern and eastern Iowa. Precipitation deficits were under an inch at most observation stations. Unseasonably warm temperatures blanketed the state with the warmest conditions in northwest Iowa as positive departures from eight to ten degrees were reported; the statewide average temperature was 66.6 degrees, 8.4 degrees above normal.

Sunny skies and a gusty southerly wind were reported across Iowa with afternoon temperatures on Sunday (20th) in the low to mid 70s. Winds died down overnight into Monday (21st) as morning lows in eastern Iowa dipped into the upper 40s with upper 50s reported in western Iowa. Daytime highs were slightly warmer, reaching into the upper 70s under mostly clear skies. An isolated line of very light showers pushed through northern Iowa during the evening hours, though only a handful of stations reported rain; Grafton (Worth County) observed the highest total of 0.02 inch. Tuesday (22nd) was another quiet day in Iowa with partly cloudy conditions and daytime temperatures reaching into the low to mid 80s in the northwest corner with closer to seasonal temperatures in eastern Iowa. Overnight lows into Wednesday (23rd) remained unseasonably warm, with many stations reporting mid to upper 50s; Storm Lake (Buena Vista County) observed 59 degrees, 11 degrees above normal. Foggy conditions were reported across southern Iowa while upper-level haze from western wildfires continued to tint the sky an eerie orangish hue. An approaching low pressure center in Nebraska and South Dakota produced a southwesterly wind along with increasing cloudiness over portions of western and central Iowa. Afternoon temperatures remained in the upper 70s and low 80s.

A sluggish low pressure center sat over western Iowa on Thursday (24th) producing variable winds in the state’s northwest corner while southerly winds were observed ahead of the system. A smaller, secondary disturbance pushed through northeastern Iowa through late afternoon producing some showers and isolated thunderstorms. Given the setup, there was a range of temperatures around the state, from the mid 70s east where cloud cover was present to the mid 80s west under sunny skies. Several stations in Allamakee, Fayette and Winneshiek counties reported rain gauge totals above 0.10 inch; Lansing (Allamakee County) reported 0.60 inch while a station in Decorah (Winneshiek County) reported 0.88 inch. As the low pushed east, cloud cover cleared with a prevailing southerly wind. Morning lows on Friday (25th) were unseasonably warm, ranging from the upper 50s to mid 60s; the statewide average low was 58 degrees, 11 degrees above normal. Afternoon highs were well above average with low 90s reported from southwest to north-central Iowa. Saturday (26th) was a very warm day across the state with higher level cloud cover burning off into the afternoon hours. The statewide average high hit 82 degrees, 12 degrees above normal. A cold front began pushing through western Iowa into the early morning hours on Sunday (27th). Rain totals reported at 7:00 am were light across the state’s northwest corner.

Weekly precipitation totals ranged from no accumulation at many Iowa stations to 1.15 inches at a gauge near Cresco (Winneshiek County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.06 inch, while the normal is 0.75 inch. Clarinda (Page County) reported the week’s high temperature of 95 degrees on the 25th, 23 degrees above normal. Fayette (Fayette County) reported the week’s low temperature of 35 degrees on the 21st, eight 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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