Written by Theresa Rose on August 18, 2015

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 recent heat is helping crops continue to mature. Generally, things look pretty good across the state with 82 percent of corn and 77 percent of soybeans rated as good to excellent condition,” Northey said.

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:


Mostly dry conditions throughout the week allowed Iowa farmers 5.9 days suitable for fieldwork for the week ending August 16, 2015, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. This is the first time this year the State has averaged more than 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork in consecutive weeks. Activities for the week included cutting hay, harvesting oats, and fungicide and insecticide applications. Spraying activities were wrapping up in some areas. Reports of crops showing stress due to dry weather conditions trickled in this week. There were scattered reports of sudden death syndrome in soybean fields.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 13 percent short, 76 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 1 percent very short, 11 percent short, 78 percent adequate and 10 percent surplus. Sparse precipitation in north central and northeastern Iowa resulted in falling topsoil and subsoil moisture levels across the area, with subsoil moisture now around one-quarter short to very short.

Seventy-four percent of the corn crop reached the dough stage or beyond, with 14 percent dented or beyond, 5 days behind the 5-year average. Corn condition rated 82 percent good to excellent. Soybeans blooming or beyond reached 95 percent, 8 days behind the previous year. Eighty-four percent of soybeans were setting pods, with a few reports of soybeans starting to turn color. Soybean condition rated 77 percent good to excellent. Ninety-seven percent of the oat crop for grain or seed has been harvested, 1 day ahead of last year, but 2 days behind the average.

After spending three weeks lagging behind last year, the second cutting of alfalfa hay was equal to last year with 95 percent complete. The third cutting of alfalfa hay was 45 percent complete, 3 days behind average. Hay condition rated 66 percent good to excellent, while pasture condition dropped 6 percentage points to 67 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as normal