Iowa's corn and soybean crops have bounced back from a stressful start this spring and are off to a fairly good start for 2007, all things considered. Growing degree days are running about 15% above the long-term accumulations statewide. This added heat may have helped crops compensate some for the less than perfect planting conditions.
The latest weekly weather and crop conditions report, released June 25 by Iowa Ag Statistics Service, shows Iowa corn and soybeans are doing well. Scattered rain showers at the end of the past week brought much needed moisture to parts of the state. As of June 25 the weekly survey rated 85% of the topsoil as adequate or surplus moisture. This is a significant change from a week ago when 33% of Iowa's topsoil moisture rated short or very short of moisture. High winds accompanied the rains but caused little damage to crops. Other parts of the state received little to no precipitation, increasing worries over moisture of the soil.
In the past week there were 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork, compared to 5.1 days last year at this time. The June 25 report, based on conditions as of June 24, rated topsoil moisture at 3% very short, 12% short, 73% adequate and 12% surplus across the state. Subsoil moisture rates 1% very short, 7% short, 79% adequate and 13% surplus.
Iowa has good reserve of subsoil moisture
Heavy rains have been the standard this year in large parts of southern, western and central Iowa. For eastern Iowa, rainfall has been scant, but fortunately that area entered the growing season with decent soil moisture reserves, says Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture.
The percentage of Iowa oat acres that are headed are 86%. Oats turning color are at 11%. The condition of the oat crop is zero percent very poor, 2% poor, 19% fair, 64% good and 15% excellent. Average corn height is 36 inches.
Corn condition is at 1% very poor, 4% poor, 17% fair, 56% good and 22% excellent. Soybeans blooming are at 5%. Soybean condition are at zero percent very poor, 3 % poor, 22% fair, 57% good and 18% excellent.
First cutting of alfalfa hay is now at 89% complete. All hay condition is 2% very poor, 9% poor, 32% fair, 49% good and 8% excellent. Pasture condition is at 1% very poor, 5% poor, 27% fair, 57% good and 10% excellent.
- Brian Sexton is the 2007 Wallaces Farmer intern and a student at Iowa State University.