Regional Update: Sept. 15, 2021

September 15, 2021 9:50 AM
Blog Post

While the rains the end of August have helped to improve the dry conditions some across the state, the rains also brought along some strong winds and hail that caused some significant crop damage in parts of NE, EC, and SE Iowa by flattening cornfields and causing lodging in soybeans. Additionally, parts of NE Iowa also delt with some flooding. Common observations made in fields across the state include stalk rots and stalk integrity issues in corn and fall armyworms causing havoc in pastures and hayfields (and lawns). Read on for more specifics on what's happening in fields across the state.

Northwest Iowa

Gentry Sorenson (Region 2): “Corn and Soybeans are moving toward maturity. Some earlier maturity soybeans have dropped leaves and are close to harvest while others are in the early stages of dropping leaves. In soybeans SDS has been identified in a few fields, I also had phone calls regarding white mold. A few isolated cornfields have had end rows taken off or areas of fields harvested. Stalk quality has been a concern, I have seen stalk rots in the field as well as some root lodging. It will be important to check your fields to understand the standability of your corn as well as understand if any stalk rots are in your field to prioritize harvest over the coming weeks. Field calls have been about soybean disease and standability of corn.”

Starting to see more stalk rots and stanbilibty issues in corn. Make sure to check your fields and priortize which fields to harvest first. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Vittetoe.

Northeast Iowa

Josh Michel (Region 5): “Many areas in NE Iowa received significant crop damage from recent severe weather events that occurred on August 24 and again on August 27-28. While the most severe crop damage was isolated to areas in Buchanan and Fayette counties, crop damage had occurred to some degree in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, and Winneshiek counties as well. Since those weather events that came through, most of NE Iowa has remained relatively dry. Scattered light rain showers have only delivered 0.25-0.50 inches of rainfall over the past two weeks. While dry conditions will help facilitate an earlier harvest, we will need some rainfall to help forages get some needed growth before a killing frost later this fall. Grain harvest has started in some areas as moisture levels continue to fall, while the last alfalfa cuttings for the season are finishing up. Recent field calls have centered mostly around down corn, specifically what are the options and considerations to keep in mind with harvesting corn for silage or grain, and what concerns there might be about grain quality and storage. Other field calls have included: corn rootworm management, forage management and new forage seedings, fall weed management, and cover crop considerations.”

The stroms that rolled through NE Iowa late in August had some strong winds that flattened many cornfields across the area. Photo courtesy of Josh Michel.

Central Iowa

Meaghan Anderson (Region7): “Harvest has started in earnest in central Iowa and is coming quickly for anyone who hasn’t started yet. Much of the corn is mature and hopefully drying down well with the warm days and breezes lately. I’ve been hearing of moistures anywhere from the upper teens to the upper 20s and yield reports have been remarkable so far. I continue to receive phone calls and notice issues with standability in corn, so it is still a good idea to prioritize fields for harvest based on their stalk integrity. More soybeans are turning each day and a few fields have been harvested in central Iowa so far. Standability issues have been apparent in some soybean fields as well, with lanky beans and the rainfall we received in the latter half of August. We’ve got some good reference information on combine adjustments for harvesting lodged corn and MSU has a great reference on harvesting lodged soybeans.”

Most of the corn in central Iowa has reached black layer or is getting pretty close to reaching black layer. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Anderson.

East Central, Southeast, and South Central Iowa  

Rebecca Vittetoe (Region 8): “While we got some much-needed rain the end of August, but with that rain also come some wind and hail. A good portion of Keokuk County and parts of Mahaska and Poweshiek counties had some storm damage with downed and flattened corn, lodged soybeans, and some hail damage as well. Harvest has begun in EC Iowa, with corn silage harvest starting a couple weeks ago and within the last week folks have started harvesting some corn and soybean fields. Major concerns coming from the field include stalk rot and stalk integrity concerns in corn, tar spot becoming more apparent, and fall armyworms in pastures and hayfields. Take time to assess corn fields for stalk rots and if you are seeing more than 10% of the plants in the field with stalk rots, plan to harvest that field earlier. Also, be sure to check pastures and hayfields for fall armyworms.”

Scout pasture and hayfields for fall armyworms. They tend to be more active first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. You can often find them haning out by the soil during the day, like the ones in the picture. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Vittetoe.

Virgil Schmitt (Region 9): “Rainfall during the last three weeks in the counties I cover was generally one to three inches. In general, temperatures during the last week in the counties I cover were two to three degrees above normal. Corn is generally late R5 to R6 and soybeans are generally late R7 to R8. Corn silage is being harvested and third cutting of hay is wrapping up.  Calls and farm visits last three weeks mostly involved weed management identification and management and fall armyworms.”

Rainfall totals across the state from August 23 through Sept. 13, 2021. Source:

Clarabell Probasco (Region 11): “ The past few weeks in our area have been full of silage harvest and wrapping up third cutting in hay fields. We have continued to receive timely rains and have totaled anywhere from 0.5 inchto nearly 2 inches. One of the storm systems produced stronger winds around the Pekin/Packwood area, where some fields experienced crop damage. Many corn fields are in the R6 stage and some growers have begun harvesting high moisture corn in the last few days. Soybean fields are steadily turning color and are typically found in the R7 stage. There have been a lot of questions recently regarding fall armyworms in hay and alfalfa fields and what control methods are available. A great resource to answer these questions and to provide more details can be found here."

Check out the map below to find your local ISU Extension field agronomist and find their contact information here!


Rebecca Vittetoe Field Agronomist in EC Iowa

Rebecca Vittetoe is an extension field agronomist in east central Iowa. Educational programs are available for farmers, agribusiness, pesticide applicators, and certified crop advisors.

Areas of expertise include agronomy, field crop production and management of corn, soybeans, and...