USDA's weekly survey of Iowa crop and weather conditions shows as of September 9, already 10% of Iowa's 2012 corn harvest has been completed. That's a record pace driven by the drought-stricken condition of the state's corn crop. "Harvest is getting underway and 10% of the corn crop has been harvested," notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "This has certainly been a challenging year for all farmers, but I think many are excited to get into the field and see exactly what yields will be."
The latest weekly report, based on conditions as of September 9, was assembled and released September 10 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. It shows 52% of Iowa's corn is in poor to very poor condition, a slight improvement over the previous week's 55% poor to very poor. Nationally, 52% of the corn crop is rated poor to very poor after the worst drought in more than 50 years.
Farmers report widely varying yield results, with corn in some areas of fields where soil is sandy or light, yielding virtually nothing while other places in the field where soil is more productive and has better moisture-holding capacity are getting 200 bushels per acre.
Yields are varying significantly from row to row, and even within same row
Brian Larson of Sunderman Farm Management at Fort Dodge observes, "There is a tremendous variation in yields. I've seen as high as 230 bushels per acre on the yield monitor in the combine, and zero in other places in the same field." At this early stage of the harvest season, based on what he's seen so far, his estimate is the crop in the Ft. Dodge area is running about 60% of normal.
For soybeans, 37% of Iowa's soybean crop is poor to very poor. Very little soybean harvesting has been done yet as farmers are moving quickly to get corn harvested first, as they fear fields with weak cornstalks could fall flat if winds come along. Loyd Brown of Hertz Farm Management at Nevada, says corn yields are "all over the board" on farms his company manages in Iowa and other Midwestern states.