Farmers make progress on historically slow harvest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Farmers make progress on historically slow harvest

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released his weekly crop report Monday.  It reads as follows:

"This has been a historically slow harvest, but now at least most farmers continue to make progress," Northey said. "Periodic rains, some shortage of drying capacity and other issues have prevented us from closing the books on the 2009 harvest, but for many at least the end is now in sight. Hopefully farmers that spent part of Thanksgiving in the combine will not have to spend Christmas worrying about crops still in the field."

While most families gathered Thanksgiving Day, many Iowa farmers spent their holiday harvesting corn and trying to complete field work. With seemingly weekly rain showers, harvest progress continued its painfully slow pace. As winter fast approaches, producers are ready to have this harvest season behind them. Driers continue to run at capacity with some shortages of propane being reported. Cattle producers now have ample stubble fields available for post-harvest gleaning.

There were 4.3 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared to 5.1 days last year. Topsoil moisture rated 0 percent very short, 3 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 22 percent surplus across the state. Subsoil moisture rated 0 percent very short, 4 percent short, 75 percent adequate, and 21 percent surplus.

Grain movement was reported at 22 percent none, 30 percent light, 32 percent moderate, and 16 percent heavy. On-farm storage availability rated 29 percent short, 69 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus, while off-farm storage availability rated 20 percent short, 77 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus. Reporters estimated 49 percent of cropland had fall applications of fertilizer complete, 8 percentage points ahead of last year, but 11 percentage points behind the five-year average.

Field Crops Report: Corn harvested for grain reached 87 percent, remaining 6 percentage points behind last year and 15 days behind the five-year average. Nearly all the soybean crop was reported harvested with southern Iowa the primary area with acreage still to be harvested.

Livestock, Pasture and Range Report: Use of stubble fields was reported 46 percent none, 30 percent limited, 20 percent moderate, and 4 percent heavy. Hay and roughage availability is currently rated 7 percent short, 84 percent adequate, and 9 percent surplus. The quality of hay and roughage is currently rated 9 percent poor, 52 percent fair, and 39 percent good.

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