Iowa corn, soybean harvest moving quickly to completion

Dry weather puts harvest well ahead of schedule

Tom Brown, of rural Muscatine County, unloads his corn from his Case IH combine Sept. 14. (Mark Benischek/The Gazette)
Tom Brown, of rural Muscatine County, unloads his corn from his Case IH combine Sept. 14. (Mark Benischek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS -- Favorable weather last week allowed Iowa farmers to make significant progress toward wrapping up the corn and soybean harvest.

There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week that ended on Sunday. The statewide average precipitation was 0.05 inches, substantially below the normal amount for the week of 0.68 inches.

Seventy-six percent of the state's corn crop has been harvested, a full month ahead of normal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Last year, less than 25 percent of Iowa’s corn crop had been harvested at this time.

Eighty percent of Iowa's soybean crop has been harvested, two weeks ahead of normal. Ninety-eight percent of Iowa’s soybean fields have dropped leaves, nearly a week ahead of normal.

Northwest Iowa farmers, with 91 percent of their corn acreage harvested and 96 percent of their soybeans in the bin,  continue to lead the way with row crop harvest.

"Farmers are quickly wrapping up the 2012 harvest and moving on to fall tillage and other fieldwork," said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "The harvest remains well ahead of the five-year average."

Iowa corn and soybean producers are moving corn and beans from the farm to elevators for storage. Grain movement remains brisk, with 52 percent of the state seeing moderate to heavy grain movement.


As the harvest season advances, 99 percent of Iowa farmers are reporting adequate or surplus off-farm storage capacity and 95 percent of producers are reporting adequate or surplus on-farm storage capacity.

Topsoil moisture level declined to 67 percent very short, 29 percent short, 4 percent adequate, and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture also declined slightly and is now rated 71 percent very short, 26 percent short, 3 percent adequate, and zero percent surplus.

Only twenty-four of Iowa’s pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated at 52 percent very poor, 24 percent poor, 20 percent fair, 4 percent good, and zero percent excellent.

Hay supplies are considered short across 43 percent of the state with just over one-third of the hay supply considered in good condition.

At Dyersville Sales, 378 tons of hay were sold at the Oct. 3 auction. The market was steady to weak with light offerings and light demand because farmers are busy with the corn and soybean harvest.

Premium large square bales of fourth crop hay topped at $275 per ton. Round bales topped at $215 per ton, with the bulk of the hay selling from $200 to $245 per ton.

At the Fort Atkinson Hay Auction, premium small squares were the high load of the day selling for $275 per ton. The auction was characterized as a seller’s market with nothing under $105 per ton.

About half of the loads of hay sold for $200 per ton and higher.  High quality hay just continues to sell very well.



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