DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today 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 extremely hot weather last week further stressed the crop and the condition of both corn and soybeans continues to decline,” Northey said.  “Some parts of the state received a little rainfall last week and this weekend, but all areas of the state could use additional moisture.”


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:




Above average temperatures prevailed across Iowa during the week ending September 1, 2013, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although most of the State received little or no rainfall, parts of western Iowa experienced beneficial rain. While hot temperatures allowed crops to mature, crop conditions deteriorated last week in response to the heat and lack of moisture. Statewide there was an average of 6.7 days suitable for fieldwork.


A total of 22 percent of topsoil and 26 percent of subsoil was in the adequate and surplus moisture categories, declining 6 and 8 percentage points from last week, respectively. Topsoil moisture levels rated 44 percent very short, 34 percent short, 22 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 35 percent very short, 39 percent short, 26 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.


Ninety-four percent of the corn crop reached the milk stage, 4 percentage points behind normal. Seventy-three percent of the crop reached the dough stage, trailing the normal 88 percent. Thirty-three percent of the crop has reached the dent stage, 12 days behind normal. A small portion of the earliest planted corn was mature. Corn condition declined from the previous week, and was rated at 8 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 33 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, behind last year’s 99 percent and the normal 98 percent. Some of the earliest planted soybeans have begun turning color. Soybean condition also declined from last week and was rated 8 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 34 percent good and 5 percent excellent.


The warm and mostly dry conditions allowed the harvest of third cutting alfalfa to reach 77 percent compete, above the normal 72 percent, but still well behind last year’s 98 percent. Pasture condition continued to deteriorate, and was rated 24 percent very poor, 28 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 14 percent good and 1 percent excellent.




By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship


It was a hot and dry week across Iowa. A few lucky areas received substantial rainfall while no rain fell over much of southeast Iowa and portions of north central and northeast Iowa. This was the hottest week of the year with temperatures averaging 11.7 degrees above normal. A hotter week was last recorded during the first week of July 2012. Actual temperatures peaked at 104 degrees at Des Moines and Fort Madison on Friday (30th) while the heat index reached 108 degrees at Iowa City on Wednesday (28th) afternoon. Slightly cooler air finally arrived on Saturday (31st) with Sheldon reporting a morning low of 57 degrees while afternoon highs in the nineties were confined to the southern one-half of Iowa. There were only two periods of rain during the week. A narrow area of thunderstorms formed late Friday (30th) into Saturday (31st) morning from the Newton-Marshalltown area northeastward to Dubuque with a maximum report of 2.46 inches of rain at Lock & Dam 11 at Dubuque. A larger area of thunderstorms brought rain to much of the southwest one-half of Iowa late Saturday (31st) into Sunday (1st) morning. A few locations received more than an inch of rain with Sheldon reporting the most with 1.72 inches. The statewide average rainfall was 0.28 inches while normal for the week is 0.90 inches. High winds and some hail accompanied the rain in far northwest Iowa along with reports of winds flattening corn in Dallas County in central Iowa.