Continued dry weather allowed Iowa farmers 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending August 30, 2020, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Drought conditions and rapidly drying crops are now a concern for most of the State. Field activities included harvesting hay, chopping corn silage and harvesting seed corn. Some farmers have been cleared to mow or disc in their corn damaged by the derecho. Topsoil moisture condition rated 41% very short, 40% short, 19% adequate and 0% surplus. The State’s topsoil moisture condition deteriorated to 81% short to very short. Subsoil moisture condition rated 37% very short, 40% short, 23% adequate and 0% surplus. The State’s subsoil moisture condition dropped to over three-
quarters short to very short.
Corn was 95% in the dough stage or beyond, over 2 weeks ahead of the previous year and 6 days ahead of the 5-year average. Almost three-quarters of the corn crop was in or beyond dent stage, over 2 weeks ahead of the previous year and 1 week ahead of average. The crop seems to be speeding towards maturity with 11% of the crop mature, 18 days ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of average. Corn condition rated 45% good to excellent, a drop of 5 percentage points from the previous week and the lowest level since the week ending October 20, 2013. Soybeans setting pods were over 2 weeks ahead of last year and 4 days ahead of average at 96%.
Soybeans coloring reached 29%. That is the highest percentage of soybeans coloring by August 30 since 2012. Soybean condition fell again this week with the crop now rated 50% good to excellent, the lowest level so far this season.
August 24-30th was the driest reporting period of the summer and of the 2020 growing season thus far. All Iowa stations, with the exception of one, reported below average precipitation with deficits near an inch at rain gauges in eastern Iowa. Much of the reporting period also had temperatures well above average with the highest departures, on the order of 10-12 degrees, in western Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 77.3 degrees, 6.1 degrees above normal. Sunday (23rd) afternoon temperatures pushed into the low to mid 90s under mostly sunny skies and variable winds.
In the Forest City area, temperatures were just as warm as the rest of the state. The average high was 83.5 degrees while the normal is 82.2 degrees. This leaves the area 1.3 degrees warmer than normal for highs. Overnight lows were a little closer to normal. The average low was 62.5 degrees while the normal is 62.2 degrees leaving us .3 degrees warmer than normal for lows.
Precipitation is the major issue among farmers as we approach harvest time. We currently sit at 3.24 inches of precipitation. The normal amount of precipitation for August is 4.6 inches which means that the area is 1.32 inches below normal for the month.