An estimated 53% of Iowa's 2012 drought-stricken corn crop remains in "poor to very poor" condition, and only 15% is in good condition. Soybeans are in a little better shape statewide as they've benefitted from recent rains and cooler temperatures. Iowa's soybean crop is now setting pods.
The weekly Iowa Weather & Crop Report, issued August 20 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines, says 37% of the state's soybean crop is rated poor to very poor, while 25% is good to excellent. That's based on the statewide survey for the week ending August 19.
Ninety-one percent of Iowa's topsoil and subsoil is rated below normal for moisture. A year ago Iowa's corn was rated 67% good to excellent and 8% poor to very poor.
A year ago soybeans were rated 70% good to excellent and 8% poor to very poor.
Nationally corn rates 51% poor to very poor; 38% of beans are in that category
Nationally 51% of the corn crop and 38% of the soybean crop is rated poor to very poor, according to the weekly USDA survey. A year ago 17% of U.S. corn crop was in poor to very poor condition. Yesterday, corn futures closed up 17 cents per bushel for the December 2012 contract to $8.15 per bushel on August 20. Soybean prices were up 33 cents per bushel to a $17.03 close on August 20.
Farmers walking their fields and doing yield checks this week in the eastern Corn Belt are reporting corn yields as low as 98 bushels per acre. Some in South Dakota are reporting random yield checks as low as 50 bushels per acre. USDA on August 10 issued its first official yield estimate for 2012 corn crop. That August Crop Report estimate pegs this year's U.S. crop at 123 bushels per acre. The Iowa corn yield is estimated by USDA at 141 bushels per acre, 31 bushels per acre below the 2011 yield.
Cooler temperatures, scattered rains have stopped further crop deterioration
"The cooler temperatures and scattered rains have allowed crops to mostly maintain their condition and prevent further deterioration for the most part," observes Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "The entire state remains dry and in need of more rain, especially as the bean crop continues to set and fill pods."
The complete weekly Iowa Crop & Weather Report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. Here are the highlights:
Despite rain and cooler temperatures, crop conditions showed little change
CROP REPORT: Despite scattered showers and moderate temperatures, crop conditions showed little change for the week ending August 19. Development of the 2012 corn and soybean crops in Iowa continues to stay ahead of normal pace. The week's activities included cutting hay, spraying crops, and chopping corn for silage.
There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. East central Iowa, with 5.5 days, was the only area of the state with less than 6 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture is unchanged from last week at 60% very short, 31% short, 9% adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture also remains unchanged from last week at 70% very short, 26% short, 4% adequate and zero percent surplus.
Over 90% of Iowa's corn crop has now reached dough stage, ahead of last year's 71% and 5-year average of 59%. Sixty-five percent of the corn crop has reached dent stage, ahead of last year's 33% and the 5-year average of 25%. Slightly more than 13% of the state's corn crop is now mature, almost three weeks ahead of normal. Corn condition is reported at 23% very poor, 30% poor, 32% fair, 14% good and 1% excellent.
Pods are being set on 95% of Iowa soybean crop; 5% of bean fields turning color
Pods are being set on 95% of the Iowa soybean crop as of August 19, and 5% of soybean fields are turning color. Soybean condition is reported at 14% very poor, 23% poor, 38% fair, 23% good and 2% excellent. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 93% complete, is a month ahead of normal.
Only 16% of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition rated 57% very poor, 27% poor, 13% fair, 3% good and zero percent excellent. Moderating temperatures have improved conditions for livestock.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending August 19, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past reporting week brought mostly cooler than usual weather to Iowa with widely varying rainfall amounts. Temperatures averaged below normal on each day except Wednesday (August 15) when highs reached into the low 90s over portions of southwest Iowa. Temperatures fell well below normal over the weekend with several daily record low readings reported on Friday (August 17) and Saturday (August 18) mornings. Temperature extremes for the week varied from a Wednesday afternoon high of 93 degrees at Little Sioux to Friday morning lows of 38 degrees at Battle Creek and Sibley. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 6.1 degrees below normal to make this the coolest week in eleven weeks (since early June).
Rainfall this summer has been below normal for 9 consecutive weeks in Iowa
Rain fell over much of Iowa late Sunday (August 12) into Monday (August 13) morning with locally heavy rain over a small area of southeast Iowa. Rain also fell over much of the state Wednesday night into Thursday morning. Finally, light rain fell across portions of the west one-half of the state on Saturday (August 18). There were scattered light rain showers across about the northeast one-half of Iowa on Sunday (August 19) but these arrived after the crop condition survey and will be included in next week's report.
Weekly rain totals varied from none at Shenandoah, Sidney, Clarinda and Mount Ayr to 2.26 inches at Brighton, which is in Washington County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.60 inches while normal for the week is 0.98 inches. Rainfall, while greater than seen during July, has remained below normal for nine consecutive weeks.