Corn and soybean harvests continue ahead of schedule

As of Monday, about 16% of Iowa’s corn and 24% of its soybeans have been harvested so far this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For corn, that is about four days ahead of the five-year average. For soybeans, that is one day ahead of last year and even with the five-year average.

Those figures about doubled what had been harvested a week ago.

“With an assist from a burst of summer-like weather, combines are rolling across Iowa,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. “Despite cooler temperatures arriving later this week, forecasts show mostly dry conditions through early October, which should allow harvest to continue at a steady pace.”

The crops matured quicker than usual this year due to the ongoing drought and searing temperatures in late August and early September. About 83% of the state’s corn crop is mature, which is 12 days ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans have matured about five days ahead of that mark.

The USDA estimates that corn was planted on about 12.6 million acres in Iowa this year, up slightly from last year. Soybeans occupy nearly 10 million acres, down slightly from last year.

Available soil moisture held relatively steady this past week. Just 27% of topsoil and 21% of subsoil has adequate or surplus moisture for growing crops.

The conditions of livestock pastures has continued to decline. About 15% are rated good or excellent.

“Livestock producers have continued to haul hay and water to their livestock on pasture,” the USDA said.