Crops Are Ahead of the 5 Year Average in the Crop Progress Report

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today commented on the Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through November.

“Unfortunately, southern Iowa continues to be very dry with more than 70 percent of south central and southeast Iowa rated as short or very short of subsoil moisture,” Naig said. “Crop development remains well ahead of the 5-year average. It has also been good weather for farmers making hay and 13 percent of the third cutting of alfalfa is now complete.”

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at or on USDA’s site at The report summary follows here:


Iowa farmers had 6.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 29, 2018, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting hay and oats for grain, applying chemicals and moving grain. 

Topsoil moisture levels rated 5 percent very short, 20 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 4 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 6 percent very short, 17 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus. Floodwaters continued to recede in northwest and north central Iowa while subsoil moisture levels rated short to very short remain above 70 percent in south central and southeastern Iowa.

Ninety-six percent of the corn crop has silked, 10 days ahead of last year and 2 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. Thirty-one percent of the corn crop has reached the dough stage or beyond, 5 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of average. Corn condition rated 78 percent good to excellent. Ninety percent of the soybean crop was blooming with 63 percent setting pods, 6 days ahead of last year and 8 days ahead of the average. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent. Ninety-seven percent of the oat crop was turning color or beyond, with 61 percent of the crop harvested for grain. Oat condition was rated 75 percent good to excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 93 percent complete, 11 days ahead of average. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 13 percent complete, 1 day ahead of the average. Hay condition rated 68 percent good to excellent. Pasture conditions declined to 54 percent rated good to excellent. Cooler temperatures improved livestock conditions; however, drought conditions in the southern one-third of the State caused some cattle producers to rotate pasture and haul water.


By Dr. Justin Glisan, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

The last full week of July greeted Iowa with unseasonably cool temperatures and relatively dry conditions. Daytime highs over most of the state were in the lower 80s, two to three degrees below normal. Overnight lows were cooler as well, dipping into the upper 50s, four to six degrees below normal. Statewide precipitation totals were between 0.25 to 1.2 inches below normal; only parts of Mills and Fremont counties observed slightly above average precipitation. A cold front moved through Iowa early on Monday (23rd), bringing measurable rainfall to the state’s western third. Little Sioux (Harrison County) reported 0.52 inches of rain, while other locations in Sioux and Lyon counties observed between 0.25 and 0.33 inches. Tuesday (24th) was quiet statewide, with Bellevue (Jackson County) reporting the week’s high of 97 degrees. Active weather returned on Wednesday (25th), as another cold front moved through, firing up severe thunderstorms in north central Iowa. There were more than 10 reports of severe straight-line winds and pea to quarter-sized hail; Dows (Wright County) reported large broken tree limbs of up to eight inches. The line weakened and propagated through the eastern third of the state; Mason City (Cerro Gordo County) reported 0.80 inches of rain, while Waterloo (Black Hawk County) observed 0.16 inches. High pressure dominated Thursday (26th) and Friday (27th), bringing fair and cool conditions. Saturday (28th) was a wet day for western and southern Iowa, as a system brought measurable rainfall. Rathbun Dam (Appanoose County) recorded 0.98 inches of rain, the week’s highest accumulation; sixteen stations had accumulations of at least 0.50 inches. Thundershowers lingered into Sunday morning (29th), with isolated storms popping up in the afternoon. Weekend average highs were well below normal, especially in the southwest. Mount Ayr (Ringgold County) recorded a high of 66 degrees, 19 degrees below normal.