two men checking field
RAPID GROWTH: As Iowa’s 2017 growing season moves through late June, corn plants are entering a period of rapid growth in which they have high demand for water and nutrients. Soybean plants are beginning to flower.

Iowa corn, soybeans look good nearing month’s end

Crops are generally doing well, although some fields that missed recent rains are showing signs of stress.

Iowa had highly variable weather this past week, ranging from no rainfall in some areas to heavy rain in other areas. Temperatures averaged below normal across the state for the week ending June 25 — ranging from warm and humid midweek to cool this past weekend. The statewide weekly survey conducted by USDA shows generally good conditions overall for Iowa’s 2017 corn and soybean crops.

“Crops continue to make good progress and for the most part remain in good condition, with 79% of Iowa’s corn and 74% of the soybeans rated good or excellent. There is concern about dry conditions in areas that have missed recent rains, especially in southeast Iowa where topsoil moisture is rated 78% short or very short,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

The complete weekly crop and weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report summary follows.

Summary of Iowa crop conditions
Iowa experienced below-normal temperatures across the state with mostly isolated precipitation during the week ending June 25, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Statewide there were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork. Activities for the week included herbicide application, sidedressing, cultivating and haying.

Topsoil moisture levels rate 5% very short, 23% short, 70% adequate and 2% surplus. Southeast Iowa’s topsoil moisture levels continued to fall with 78% rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture rate 3% very short, 15% short, 79% adequate and 3% surplus.

Iowa corn rated 79% good-to-excellent
Iowa’s corn crop statewide is rated 79% in good-to-excellent condition as of June 25. Soybean emergence reached 96% complete, five days behind last year but four days ahead of the five-year average. Soybean condition is rated 74% good to excellent. Oats headed reached 84% last week, four days behind last year but equal to average. Oats turning color reached 10%, four days behind last year and three days behind average. Oat condition is rated 76% good-to-excellent.

Second cutting of alfalfa hay reached 10% complete, five days behind average. Hay condition is rated 84% good-to-excellent. Pasture condition deteriorated slightly to 66% good-to-excellent. Livestock conditions are described as good.

Weather summary for Iowa
Compared to the week before, Iowa experienced much cooler weather with highly variable rainfall amounts for the seven days ending June 25. Harry Hillaker, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, provides the following summary.

Hot and humid weather was confined to June 20-22 and primarily across central and southern Iowa. The coolest weather arrived over the weekend with temperatures much below normal June 23-25.

Temperatures for week averaged below normal
Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.1 degrees below normal with extremes varying from an afternoon high on June 21 of 97 degrees F at Little Sioux to morning lows of 43 degrees on June 24 at Chariton and Grinnell. There were a few scattered light rain showers and thunderstorms June 18-20 and 24. June 23 and June 25 were dry.

Thunderstorms brought rain to most of the northeast two-thirds of the state on June 21 with heaviest rains of 1 to 2 inches over portions of north-central and northeast Iowa. Thunderstorms also brought rain to much of the eastern two-thirds of Iowa on June 22 into the early morning of June 23, with greatest amounts exceeding 2 inches over portions of northeast and south-central Iowa.

Rainfall averaged three-quarter inch
New Hampton reported the most rain for the week with 4.28 inches, while parts of west-central (centered upon Monona and Harrison counties) and southwest Iowa (parts of Fremont and Page counties) recorded no rain at all. Statewide average rainfall was 0.75 inch, while normal for the week is 1.17 inches. There were a few isolated reports of high winds and large hail on June 21-22, but nothing on the scale of what was seen the prior week across Iowa.

After a rowdy start to the 2017 growing season, the latest summer weather forecast shows some respite in Iowa and the Midwest, notes Hillaker. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, June and July temperatures for much of the Midwest will be similar to past summertime averages. Farmers should see relief in regard to rainfall as well. Most of the continental U.S. is expected to have normal rain amounts in June and July. As forecasters look toward August, higher average temperatures could creep into the eastern Midwest and southern Great Plains.

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