2019 Iowa crop progress review
Iowa saw a historically wet spring with rain and snow through the first half of April delaying fieldwork and planting activities. Precipitation throughout May and into June kept field conditions wet making it a difficult start to the 2019 growing season for farmers throughout the state.
Planting of corn was nearly complete by June 16, with 98 percent of the expected crop in the ground, over two weeks behind the five-year average.
Soybean planting continued through the first week of July and was also over two weeks behind average. After a rainy start to the season, precipitation slowed down and fields began to dry up.
The weeks ending July 7 through SEpt. 1 averaged 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork. During this time, areas of Iowa were rated as D1 moderate drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Due to late planting, crop development remained behind average throughout the season. Iowa farmers were able to start on corn and soybean harvest in late September, but were hindered by rain and snow creating wet field conditions.
Soybean harvest surpassed last year during the week ending Oct. 20, which marked the only time this season a crop was ahead of the 2018 season. Farmers across the state also dealt with propane shortages, slowing corn harvest due to the high moisture content of the crop and the need to dry it down. By early December, only a few areas of the state had reports of crops remaining to be harvested.
Corn planting was on par during the month of April; however, planting was then limited, as early May brought consistent rain. By May 19, 70 percent of the corn crop was planted, nine days behind the five-year average. Planting progress remained behind average and was not complete until the end of June.
Delays in planting and cooler than normal temperatures caused emergence to lag behind average. Corn was almost fully emerged by June 30, over two weeks behind average. Corn silking was virtually complete by Aug. 25, 15 days behind average. Ninety-seven percent of corn had reached the dough stage or beyond by Sept. 22, also over two weeks behind average. Ninety-seven percent of corn was at or beyond the dent stage by Oct. 13, 17 days behind average. Corn began reaching maturity by the first week of September and remained behind average throughout the stage. Corn for grain harvest got off to a late start, and by Sept. 29 only two percent of the crop had been harvested, 11 days behind average.
Drier conditions in the weeks ending Nov. 3 and Nov. 10, allowed Iowa farmers to harvest 38 percent of their corn for grain to reach 64 percent, but progress still remained behind average. Corn harvested for grain was nearly complete at 95 percent on Dec. 8.
Corn condition started the season at a season low 51 percent good to excellent. The crop gradually improved and finished with a season high rating of 67percent good to excellent on Nov. 3. Moisture of corn being harvested was reported at 21 percent as harvest began and gradually fell to 19 percent by the final weeks of harvest.
A wet spring delayed planting of soybeans throughout the state. Planting began in late April, but planting progress was hindered by rain throughout the month of May and into June. No week in May saw more than three days suitable for fieldwork.
By June 2, just 41 percent of the soybean crop was planted, 18 days behind the five-year average. This was the smallest percent of soybeans planted by June 2 since 1993.
Soybean planting would continue into July. Seventeen percent of the crop had emerged by June 2, compared with the average of 63 percent. Nearly all of the crop emerged by July 14, over two weeks behind average. By July 28, 65 percent of soybeans had started to bloom and 13 percent of the crop was setting pods, both nearly two weeks behind average.
Leaves turning color got off to a late start and neared completion at 98 percent on Oct. 20, over two weeks behind average. Harvest began slowly in late September, and remained behind the five-year average through completion. During the two weeks from Oct. 13 through Oct. 27, Iowa farmers harvested nearly half of the soybean crop, reaching 66 percent harvested. Soybean harvest was nearly complete at 98 percent on Dec. 1.
Crop conditions fluctuated between 60 to 65 percent good to excellent throughout the growing season. The final crop condition rating of the season was rated 65 percent good to excellent on Oct. 20.
Oat seeding did not begin until early April due to wet field conditions. By the end of the first week of April planting progress was nine days behind the five-year average. However, progress picked up and caught up to the average by the end of April. Seeding was nearly complete by June 2 at 98 percent. The oat crop was almost fully emerged by June 16, over two weeks behind average. Oats headed remained around one week behind average during the entire stage.
Oats turning color started out slow, but neared average by July 28 at 94 percent complete. On July 21, 12 percent of oats for grain had been harvested, nine days behind average. By Aug. 18, nearly all oats had been harvested for grain at 97 percent complete statewide, equal to average.
Oat condition began at a season high 66 percent good to excellent, and fluctuated less than five percentage points throughout the growing season. The last rating of the season came in at 65 percent good to excellent.
The first cutting of alfalfa hay got off to a slow start and reached 35 percent complete by June 9, over one week behind the five-year average. The crop condition peaked during the week ending June 23, with 66 percent of the state’s hay rated good to excellent.
The first cutting was nearly complete by July 14, with 33 percent of the second cutting also complete. Ninety-six percent of the second cutting was complete by Aug 18, six days behind average. The third cutting of alfalfa got off to a late start with only two percent of the crop harvested by July 28, nearly two weeks behind average. The third cutting remained behind average with frequent rains that kept farmers from harvesting due to wet field conditions and the threat of rain.
The last crop condition rating of the season rated 57 percent good to excellent on Aug. 25. By Oct. 20, nearly all of the third cutting of alfalfa had been harvested at 97 percent complete statewide, almost three weeks behind average.
Pasture growth was slow to begin, due to persistent cold, wet weather. Pastures had plenty of moisture as rains continued through May. By June 30, 70 percent of the state’s pastures were in good to excellent condition, which was a season high. Pasture conditions began to decline and by Aug. 18 condition ratings hit a season low with just 42 percent rated good to excellent.Most of the pastures’ regrowth had gone dormant with below average temperatures in late October.
The last rating of the season showed 48 percent good to excellent on Oct. 27.