DES MOINES - Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey Monday commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.
"The widespread rain this weekend was very welcome and hopefully helped the soybean crop set and fill a few more pods," Northey said. "The crop continues to mature rapidly and will likely result in a record early harvest in many parts of the state this year."
Iowa experienced widespread rainfall late last week with the heaviest precipitation in the southwest and south central parts of the state.
Although soybean conditions lag behind previous years, farmers are hoping plants will produce more pods as a result of recent rains. In addition to farmers chopping their corn for silage, there are reports of farmers starting to harvest corn for grain or seed according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistical Service, Iowa Field Office.
There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 49 percent very short, 30 percent short, 19 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture also improved and is now rated at 64 percent very short, 30 percent short, 6 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.
Ninety-six percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, ahead of last year's 88 percent and the five-year average of 77 percent. Eighty-two percent of the corn crop has reached the dent stage, ahead of last year's 62 percent and the five-year average of 45 percent. Twenty-seven percent of the corn crop is now mature, two weeks ahead of normal. Corn condition is reported at 23 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 14 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Pods are being set on 98 percent of the soybean crop.
Nineteen percent of soybean crop is turning color, ahead of last year's 3 percent and the five-year average of 6 percent. Reports of soybean leaves dropping came in from across the state.
Soybean condition is reported at 14 percent very poor, 22 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 23 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 95 percent complete, is a month ahead of normal.
Nineteen percent of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition, a 3-percentage-point increase from last week. Pasture and range condition rated 55 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 15 percent fair, 4 percent good, and 0 percent excellent. Cattle on feed recorded good gains thanks to optimal weather conditions.