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Crop harvest is ‘virtually complete’ in Iowa

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Crop harvest is ‘virtually complete’ in Iowa

Nov 27, 2023 | 6:03 pm ET
By Jared Strong
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Crop harvest is ‘virtually complete’ in Iowa
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Snow blanketed harvested fields across much of Iowa last week. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Nearly all of Iowa’s corn and soybean fields have been harvested, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final crop update about the state this year.

“Corn harvested for grain is virtually complete with farmers in the southern part of the state still running a few combines,” the USDA said in its Monday report.

The soybean harvest finished about two weeks ago. Both crop harvests concluded more than a week ahead of the five-year average, in part because late summer heat and drought conditions led the crops to mature earlier.

The USDA predicted this month that Iowa corn yields will average about 200 bushels per acre despite persistent drought conditions and that soybean yields will average about 58 bushels per acre. That roughly matches the actual production reported for last year.

The USDA estimates that about 33% of the state’s topsoil and 27% of its subsoil has adequate moisture for growing crops heading into winter, when frozen ground limits water absorption. The frost depth in some parts of Iowa was three inches on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Dry conditions across most of Iowa have been largely static in recent weeks, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. About 84% of the state is suffering from some measure of drought, and about half of eastern Iowa has extreme drought, the second-to-worst of four classifications.

Those conditions are expected to persist until at least the end of February, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center.