Northey on Iowa crops and weather

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey 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 mild fall temperatures continued last week, and although much of the state received rain and strong wind, we’re nearing the final stretch of harvest,” Northey said. “Ninety-six percent of corn has been harvested and soil moisture levels look good for this time of year.”

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:


Harvest activities and fall tillage were nearing completion, while some tiling, terracing, and fertilizer applications continued during the week ending November 15, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 4.7 days suitable for fieldwork, down nearly a full day from the previous week due to a storm system that moved through Iowa on Wednesday, bringing precipitation and high winds. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain, hauling and spreading manure, and anhydrous application.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 8 percent short, 85 percent adequate, and 7 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 2 percent very short, 12 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 5 percent surplus.

Ninety-six percent of the corn crop for grain has been harvested, 8 days ahead of last year, but equal to the 5-year average.

Grain movement from farm to elevator was rated 43 percent moderate to heavy, down 8 percentage points from the previous week. Off-farm grain storage availability was rated 77 percent adequate to surplus. On-farm grain storage availability was rated 67 percent adequate to surplus.

Hay and roughage supplies were rated 97 percent adequate to surplus. Livestock conditions were described as good, with reports of little stress on livestock with the week’s above normal temperatures.


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

The big weather news for the past reporting week was the storm system that moved through Iowa on Veteran’s Day (11th). Thunderstorms resulted in severe winds being reported from 41 counties, mostly over the southern two-thirds of Iowa. At least 13 tornadoes were confirmed Wednesday afternoon and evening across the southern one-third of Iowa. Additionally, a general area of very strong winds followed the thunderstorms Wednesday night into Thursday morning with gusts at or above 50 mph across much of the state. This mid-week storm system brought the only rain for the week with greatest rain amounts coming over northwest and west central Iowa where one to two inch amounts were common. Also the first accumulating snow of the season fell Wednesday night over parts of west central and southwest Iowa but was very short-lived with surface temperatures barely falling to the freezing point. Weekly rain totals varied from 0.05 inches at Hamburg (Fremont Co.) to 2.91 inches at Holly Springs (Woodbury Co.). The statewide average precipitation was 0.84 inches while normal for the week is 0.49 inches. Meanwhile temperatures were above normal all week across western Iowa while parts of eastern Iowa dipped slightly below normal on Monday (9th), Tuesday (10th) and Friday (13th). Temperature extremes varied from a Tuesday (10th) morning low of 20 degrees at Elkader to highs of 69 degrees at Clarinda, Keosauqua and Ottumwa on Saturday (14th). Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from three degrees above normal over far southeast Iowa to ten degrees above normal over the northwest corner with a statewide average of 6.1 degrees above normal. Soil temperatures as of Sunday (15th) were averaging in the mid-forties northwest to upper forties southeast. Soil temperatures may still climb into the fifties on Monday (16th) and Tuesday (17th) before much colder weather dominates later in the week.

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