As drought spreads, Iowa corn, soybean crops decline

22.4 percent of state in severe drought, according to latest Drought Monitor map

George Ford
Published: September 5 2013 | 5:30 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 8:00 pm in
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Another hot and dry week across Iowa continued to take its toll on the state's corn and soybean crops, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Topsoil moisture levels were rated 44 percent very short, 34 percent short, 22 percent adequate and zero percent surplus for the week that ended on Sunday. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 35 percent very short, 39 percent short, 26 percent adequate and zero  percent surplus.

Corn condition declined from the previous week, and was rated at 8 percent very poor, 17 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 33 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Ninety-four percent of the corn crop reached the milk stage, 4 percent behind normal, and 73 percent of the crop reached the dough stage, trailing the normal 88 percent.

Soybean condition also declined from the previous week and was rated 8 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 34 percent good and 5 percent excellent. Ninety-three percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, behind last year’s 99 percent and the normal 98 percent.

Some of the earliest planted soybeans have begun turning color.

The warm and mostly dry conditions across the state allowed the harvest of third cutting alfalfa to reach 77 percent compete, above the normal 72 percent, but still well behind last year’s 98 percent.

Pasture condition continued to deteriorate, and was rated 24 percent very poor, 28 percent poor, 33 percent fair, 14 percent good and 1 percent excellent.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said the week that ended on Sunday was the hottest week of the year with temperatures averaging 11.7 degrees above normal. Actual temperatures peaked at 104 degrees on Friday in Des Moines and Fort Madison, and the heat index reached 108 degrees on Wednesday in Iowa City.

The latest Iowa Drought Monitor map issued Aug. 29 by the National Drought Mitigation Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association showed 22.4 percent of Iowa in severe drought, 60.23 percent in moderate drought and the remainder abnormally dry.

A new Iowa Drought Monitor map will be released Thursday morning.

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