The past week brought widely fluctuating temperatures with most areas of Iowa remaining unusually dry.

Rainfall totals for the week varied from none over much of the western one-third of Iowa up to 2.50 inches at North English in Iowa County. The statewide average precipitation was only 0.35 inch or less than one-half of the weekly normal of 0.91 inch.

Harvest has begun in earnest across Iowa. One reporter in the central section of the state remarked that "fields of corn and beans are being harvested about as rapidly as I have ever seen." Across the state producers indicate that the corn won't be standing long due to premature death and the prevalence of stalk rot. Corn stalks are brittle and breaking off easily.

In the north central and southeastern districts, medium to severe corn lodging problems were reported. High winds and hail this week damaged some crops. Scattered fields of corn across the central and lower third of the state were severely lodged by the high winds. Producers in north central Iowa noted that some soybean fields experienced 50% shattering due to hail.

There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork statewide.

Topsoil moisture was rated 41% very short, 30% short, 28% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture averaged 41% very short, 34% short, 25% adequate, and no surplus. Reporters in the lower third of Iowa note that the soil is very, very dry. Fire danger in fields is high, and there have already been field fires in different parts of the state due to the dry weather.

Corn acreage in or past the dent stage reached 99%, compared to 96% in 1999 and 91% for the average. Eighty-seven percent of the corn acreage was considered mature (safe from frost). This compares to 70% in 1999 and 51% for the average. Ten percent of the total corn acreage had been harvested for grain or seed, compared with 3% in 1999 and the average. Moisture level of corn remaining in the field averaged 25%, while the moisture level of harvested corn averaged 20% statewide.

Soybean acreage with leaves turning color reached 97%. This compares to 71% in 1999 and 74% for the five-year average. Soybean acreage dropping leaves reached 82%, last year 29%, average 32%. Soybean harvest has begun with 7% harvested statewide. Last year at this time, 1% of soybeans had been harvested, while the average is 1%. Producers in southeastern Iowa indicate a lot of problems with leaf beetles. The soybean crop condition was rated 4% very poor, 11% poor, 28% fair, 46% good, and 11% excellent.

Twenty-five percent of the intended wheat acreage had been planted, compared with 8% in 1999 and 7% for the average.

Except for reports of pink eye in north central and south central Iowa, livestock are generally in good condition. Pastures are short due to the lack of rain, especially in the southern third of the state. In the southwestern district, calves are being weaned, some as a result of short pastures. In west central Iowa, cow herds are being fed forage and farmers are hauling water, while in northwest Iowa, more silage than usual was being harvested due to a shortage of hay.

The third cutting of alfalfa reached 98%. This compares to 91% last year and 86% for the average. Pasture condition dropped from last week to rate 22% very poor, 26% poor, 28% fair, 22% good, and 2% excellent.

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