The first snowflakes fell last week, but with 97 percent of the soybean crop combined and less than 10 percent of the corn crop still in the field, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says the prospects for completing the harvest look good.
Variable precipitation slowed fieldwork in parts of Iowa, but allowed farmers 4.1 days suitable for harvesting, baling cornstalks, applying fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia, and fall tillage during the week ending Nov. 14, according to the USDA.
Farmers have harvested 91 percent of corn for grain, which is four days ahead of the five-year average. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 17 percent. Farmers in south-central Iowa have over 20 percent of their corn for grain yet to harvest. In some places, cattle have been put out to graze on cornstalks.
The soybean harvest is virtually complete at 97 percent, the USDA said.
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Although precipitation helped improve soil moisture levels slightly, topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 10 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 8 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 25 percent short, 66 percent adequate and 3 percent surplus.
Multiple weather systems brought measurable rain along with the first snowfall of the season across portions of Iowa, according to Justin Glisan, state climatologist.
The system produced a broad shield of moderate rainfall with a broad swath over the state’s middle third reporting heavy rainfall. Seventy stations measured an inch or more with most stations receiving at least one-half inch. A gauge near Chariton observed 2 inches, while Allerton reported 2.98 inches with the statewide average at 0.86 inch.
Weekly precipitation totals ranged from one-tenth inch at Rock Valley to 2.98 inches in Allerton. The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.93 inch, while the normal is 0.46 inch.
Iowa also experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, even with a late week cold snap. A few stations reported low 70s with a statewide average high of 66 degrees, 16 degrees above normal. The statewide average temperature was 42.7 degrees, 5.5 degrees above normal.
Shenandoah reported the week’s high temperature of 72 degrees Nov. 7, 18 degrees above normal. Forest City reported the week’s low temperature of 20 degrees Nov. 13, five degrees below normal.
Despite those warmer-than-average temperatures, several stations reported a trace of snow and more than 25 stations observed at least one-tenth inch. Forest City measured 1 inch of snow.