Iowa Crop Conditions Continue To Deteriorate

Iowa Crop Conditions Continue To Deteriorate

Scorching, dry weather last week took a toll on Iowa's corn and soybeans, leaving them only in half as good a condition as a year ago.

Last week's 100-degree temperatures and continued lack of rainfall left Iowa corn and soybean crops in about half as good of shape compared to last year at this time. That's according to the weekly crop conditions report, released by the Iowa Office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service on July 9. The weekly statewide survey in Iowa reflects the 2012 drought conditions that are widening in the Corn Belt. The drought has pushed corn prices up 45% since early June.

Triple digit temperatures and little if any rainfall in most parts of the state caused crop conditions in Iowa to decline significantly this past week. Also, insects are on the rise and fields are being treated.

"The hot dry weather we experienced last week was a real challenge and the condition of both corn and soybean crops in Iowa have deteriorated significantly," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "Less than half of the corn and soybeans in the state are in good to excellent condition now and statewide we need more moisture. We need rain. The high temperatures have also presented challenges for livestock producers as they seek to keep their animals cool."

Iowa farmers not only faced hot, dry conditions last week but insect populations (spider mites and corn rootworm beetles) are on the rise and a number of fields were being treated.

Only 46% of Iowa corn crop is "good to excellent," down from 62% a week ago

The weekly survey, based on conditions as of July 8, says the percentage of Iowa's corn crop that is rated "good to excellent" has now fallen to 46%. It was 62% good to excellent a week ago. A year ago 82% of Iowa's corn crop was rated good to excellent. Nationally, only 40% of the 2012 corn crop is now in good to excellent condition, compared to 48% last week and 69% a year ago this week.

Conditions are similar for soybeans. Iowa's crop is currently rated 48% "good to excellent," down from 59% last week and 80% this week a year ago. The U.S. soybean crop is rated at 38% good to excellent, according to USDA, compared to 45% a week ago and 66% last year.

Iowa State University Extension corn agronomist Roger Elmore says last week's blistering weather and lack of rain cut Iowa's yield potential by as much as 9%. Iowa normally produces a corn yield about 10% higher than the national average. In 2011 Iowa led the nation with a 172 bushel per acre yield average. "We'll lose more yield this week if it doesn't rain, and there is no rain in the forecast," notes Elmore.

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Iowa subsoil moisture has dropped to 38% very short, and 44% short

Corn pollinates best when temperatures are in the upper 80's during the day and high 60s at night. But corn also needs ample moisture under any temperature conditions, notes Elmore, and Iowa is lacking rainfall in many areas of the state. Just 12% of Iowa's topsoil is now rated as adequate in moisture. A year ago 80% of Iowa's topsoil was rated adequate for moisture. Only 18% of the state's subsoil is now rated adequate and none is surplus, compared to 94% rated adequate to surplus last year at this time.

The complete weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's website www.IowaAgriculture.gov and on USDA's site www.nass.usda.gov/ia. Here's a summary for the weekly report released July 9, based on conditions statewide as of July 8.

CROP REPORT: Triple digit temperatures and little if any rainfall in most areas of Iowa caused crop conditions to decline significantly this past week

Triple digit temperatures and little if any rainfall in most areas of the state caused crop conditions to decline significantly during the week. Iowa farmers not only faced hot, dry conditions but insect populations are on the rise with many fields being treated.

There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 48% very short, 40% short, 12% adequate and zero percent surplus. Central and South Central Iowa are the driest with at least 96% of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture dropped to 38% very short, 44% short, 18% adequate and zero percent surplus.

Survey shows 48% of Iowa corn was silked as of July 8; normal would be 7%

As of July 8, 2012 in Iowa, 62% percent of the corn crop was at or beyond the tasseling stage, well ahead of last year's 3% and the 5-year average of 16%. Also as of July 8, 48% of the corn crop is silking, nearly two weeks ahead of normal. Corn condition is reported at 5% very poor, 13% poor, 36% fair, 40% good and 6% excellent. The combined good to excellent percentage of 46 is at the lowest level for the first week of July since 1993.

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Looking at Iowa's 2012 soybean crop, 52% of the crop is blooming, ahead of last year's 29% and the 5-year average of 34%. Soybean condition is rated 4% very poor, 11% poor, 37% fair, 42% good and 6% excellent. Also as of July 8, 92% of the oat crop has turned color, well ahead of last year's 38% and the 5-year average of 49%. Forty-five percent of the oat crop has been harvested, almost three weeks ahead of normal. Oat condition is rated 4% very poor, 16% poor, 36% fair, 40% good and 4% excellent.

About half of Iowa's pasture is rated poor to very poor, hay crop is hurting

Harvest of second cutting of alfalfa hay in Iowa, at 90% complete, is a month ahead of the normal pace. Hay condition is rated 9% very poor, 20% poor, 42% fair, 28% good and 1% excellent.

Just under one-half of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in poor to very poor condition. Pasture and range condition rated 16% very poor, 33% poor, 37% fair, 13% good and 1% excellent. The excessive heat also caused stress for livestock with some deaths being reported.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended July 8, 2012

By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

It was a very hot and dry week across Iowa. Temperatures were far above normal until the weekend when a cool front brought relief to the northwest on Saturday (July 7) and statewide on Sunday (July 8). Triple digit temperatures were recorded in some areas from Wednesday through Saturday. Keosauqua reached 99 degrees or higher every day from Monday through Saturday while the highest temperatures in the state so far this year were recorded on Saturday when Bloomfield, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Iowa City, Lamoni, Osceola, Oskaloosa and Rathbun Dam all reached 105 degrees.

Statewide rainfall was only 0.02 inch this past week; normal is 1.07 inches

The week's lowest temperatures were recorded on Sunday (July 8) morning at Estherville, Mason City, Sheldon and Swea City with 61 degree readings. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 9.3 degrees above normal. There was no widespread rain during the week with only a few isolated thunderstorms which were most numerous over central Iowa on Thursday morning and over east central Iowa on Saturday evening. The vast majority of Iowa saw no rain during the week while the greatest rain amount reported was 1.72 inches near Delmar in Clinton County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.02 inch while normal for the week is 1.07 inches. This was Iowa's driest week in 21 weeks (early February).

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