The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

October 10, 2012

Corn harvest a month ahead of normal

OTTUMWA — Iowa's harvest doesn't have much longer to run.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says more than three quarters of the state's corn crop is already out of the fields, along with 80 percent of the soybean crop. The corn crop is a full month ahead of the fall norms. Soybeans aren't quite that far ahead, but are still running two weeks ahead of a normal harvest season.

To put those numbers in perspective, at this time in 2011 less than a quarter of the state's corn had been harvested.

In southeast Iowa, things are behind the state average. Sixty-nine percent of the corn in the area has been harvested. Only 58 percent of the soybeans in southeast Iowa have been harvested.

The new report comes as some forecasters have increased projections for the corn crop. That's a change from the summer's relentless pessimism and drought. Still, the drought has had a major impact and it shows as 99 percent of Iowa reports adequate or surplus off-farm storage capacity.

Weather turned sharply colder last week. It was cold enough that State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says Battle Creek tied a record. The town's low temperature Saturday was 12 degrees, "tied for the lowest temperature for so early in the season." The record was set back in 1935.

While some areas saw rain with the colder weather, it still wasn't enough. Hillaker says this was the 20th week out of the past 22 with below average rainfall.

That's becoming a concern, as experts say Iowa needs to see rains before the ground freezes this winter. After that, the amount that soaks into the earth will drop dramatically.

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