Corn prices reached a record high on July 30 as USDA's weekly survey showed nearly half of Iowa's 2012 crop is in poor to very poor condition. Corn for September delivery rose 21.5 cents to end the day at $8.20 per bushel, an all-time high.
Only 20% of Iowa's 2012 corn crop rates "good to excellent"—that's 19% good and 1% excellent as of July 29. Condition of the state's soybean crop is just 24% good and 1% excellent. That's according to the weekly Iowa Crops & Weather report issued July 30, which is based on statewide surveys as of July 29. The overall condition of the U.S. crop currently is corn 24% good to excellent and soybeans 29% good to excellent.
Grain prices have been ignited by private yield estimates that the nation's corn crop could amount to as little as 125 bushels per acre, which would be more than 20 bushels per acre less than last year and 40 bushels per acre less than in 2010.
Weekly survey shows 46% of Iowa's corn crop in "poor to very poor" condition
In Iowa, state climatologist Harry Hillaker says preliminary data shows July is on track to be the third-hottest and fifth-driest July in 140 years of recordkeeping. Even with last weekend's rainfall, only July 1936 and July 1901 will go down as hotter than this year. Only 1936, 1975, 1930 and 1947 are drier than 2012.
Iowa went into the last day of July 2012 more than 3 inches behind the normal 4.2 inches of rain for the month. The state has received 5.7 inches of rain less than the 9.1 inches it normally receives in June and July, the critical time for corn pollination. As a result, 46% of Iowa's corn crop is now in poor to very poor condition. The weekly USDA survey shows just 20% of Iowa's corn is good to excellent. A year ago, 4% of Iowa's corn was rated poor to very poor and 80% was in good to excellent condition.
For soybeans, the survey as of July 29 shows 34% of the Iowa crop is in poor to very poor condition, and 25% is good to excellent. A year ago, 80% of Iowa's soybean crop was in good to excellent condition. Nationally, 45% of the corn crop is rated poor to very poor, compared to 13% last year. The USDA survey says 35% of the nation's soybean crop is in poor to very poor condition.
Corn problems are widespread in the Corn Belt as the 2012 growing season heads into August. Here's how much of the crop is rated "poor to very poor" in the top 10 corn growing states: Iowa 46%; Illinois 71%; Indiana 69%; Kansas 66%; Michigan 61%; Missouri 83%; Nebraska 37%; Ohio 50%; Wisconsin 43%; Minnesota 14%. Nationally 45% of this year's corn crop rates poor to very poor to very poor, according to USDA.
Last week's rain was disappointing, not as widespread as Iowa farmers had hoped
Rain in various areas of Iowa this past weekend turned out to be meager. The rain was disappointing—it was not as widespread as people had hoped, and the amounts that fell, except in a few areas, didn't amount to much. "The rain received last week was very welcomed but much more is needed to stop the further deterioration of both the corn and soybean crops," says Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture. "The hot, dry weather also continues to present challenges for livestock farmers, as they move animals off pasture and are now using hay and other feed they had anticipated using over the winter months."
The weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Ag & Land Stewardship website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov and on USDA's site www.nass.usda.gov/ia. Following is a summary of the report issued July 30.
Farmers continue to chop droughty corn for silage; 8% of Iowa crop is already at dent stage
CROP REPORT: Iowa received some rainfall with the heaviest precipitation in the central and northern parts of the state for the week ending July 29. Crop conditions continue to suffer as the rain was too late for some of the corn and winds flattened the weakened crop in some areas. Farmers continue to chop droughty corn for silage.
There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels improved slightly to 71% very short, 25% short, 4% adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture dropped to 67% very short, 29% short, 4% adequate, and zero percent surplus.
In Iowa 97% of the corn crop is silking, ahead of last year's 86% and the 5-year average of 77%. As of July 29, 65% of the corn crop has reached milk stage. Also, 36% of the corn crop has reached dough stage, two weeks ahead of normal. Already, 8% of the corn crop has reached dent stage, the most advanced the crop has been at the end of July since 1987. Corn condition is reported at 18% very poor, 28% poor, 34% fair, 19% good and 1% excellent.
Iowa's hay crops and pasture are taking a hard hit from continued drought
Looking at Iowa's soybean crop, 93% has bloomed, ahead of last year's 88% and the 5-year average of 85%. Pods are being set on 57% of the soybean crop, ahead of last year's 43% and the 5-year average of 47%. Soybean condition is rated 12% very poor, 22% poor, 41% fair, 24% good and 1% excellent. Iowa's oat crop is 98% harvested, just over three weeks ahead of normal. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 63% complete, is just over a month ahead of normal.
Less than one-fifth of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition rated 55% very poor, 27% poor, 15% fair, 3% good and zero percent excellent. Reports of livestock losses continued as temperatures early in the week again soared over the 100 degree mark.
IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ended July 29, 2012
By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship
The past week began with very hot weather on Monday (July 23), Tuesday (July 24) and Wednesday (July 25) with triple digit heat being widespread across the southern two-thirds of Iowa. The heat subsided somewhat on Thursday (July 26) with readings falling a little below normal in many areas on Friday (July27) and over most of the state on Saturday (July 28). Eastern Iowa enjoyed one more day of milder weather on Sunday (July 29) but temperatures in the low to mid 90s returned to the southwest.
July 2012 on track to be Iowa's third-hottest and fifth driest July in 140 years
Temperature extremes for the week ranged from Monday afternoon highs of 107 degrees at Donnellson, Fairfield and Keokuk to a Saturday morning low of 53 degrees at Manchester. The 107 degrees temperatures on Monday were the highest official readings recorded in Iowa since Keosauqua reached 107 on July 29, 1999. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 5.9 degrees above normal.
Thunderstorms were widespread on Wednesday night and again from Saturday morning into Sunday morning. The heaviest rains on Wednesday night of one to two inches were mainly restricted to a small part of far southwest Iowa and over several northeastern counties centered near Waterloo-Cedar Falls. The weekend rains were greatest over a small area of northwestern Iowa where an inch or more fell from near Spencer to near Fort Dodge. Most of Iowa saw some rain during the week; however, locations such as Atlantic, Audubon, Harlan and Guthrie Center were left dry.
This was the 11th week of past 12 with less than normal rainfall in Iowa
At Audubon there have now been 36 consecutive days without measurable (0.01 inch or more) rainfall. Greatest rain totals for the week ending July 29 were recorded at Traer (Tama Co.) with 2.78 inches and the Oelwein Airport with 2.89 inches. The statewide average precipitation was 0.70 inches while normal for the week is 0.96 inches.
This was the wettest week in five weeks yet was also the 11th week of the past 12 with less than usual rainfall. While the rain was very welcome, Wednesday night's storms were accompanied by severe weather with high winds and/or large hail reported from 34 counties. Preliminary data indicate that July 2012 will likely go into the record books as the third hottest and fifth driest July among 140 years of state records.