Weather continues to stress Iowa corn, soybean crops

Corn condition remained unchanged

George Ford
Published: September 17 2013 | 7:00 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 8:33 pm in
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Despite some rainfall and cooler temperatures late last week, Iowa's corn and soybean crops continued to show stress from the drought conditions that affect most of the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service crop condition report for the week that ended on Sunday showed corn condition remained unchanged at 9 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 31 percent good and 4 percent excellent.

Fifteen percent of the corn crop was mature, well behind the normal 45 percent. A few operators reported harvesting their earliest planted corn.

Soybean condition was almost unchanged at 10 percent very poor, 19 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 30 percent good and 3 percent excellent. Forty-three percent of soybeans were turning color, 30 percentage points behind normal.

Seven percent of the crop has begun to drop leaves, 10 days behind normal pace.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map reflecting conditions on Sept. 10 showed a significant portion of the state in severe or moderate drought. The dry soil conditions stretched from border to border across the state with only Delaware and Dubuque counties classified as normal.

Topsoil moisture levels statewide were rated 51 percent very short, 34 percent short, 15 percent adequate and zero percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels were rated 45 percent very short, 38 percent short, 17 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said rainfall of greater than inch was confined to relatively small areas over the southern third of Iowa. The maximum reported rainfall was 2.60 inches near Promise City in northeast Wayne County.

"The statewide average precipitation was 0.33 inches while normal for the week is 0.81 inches," Hillaker said. "This was the seventh consecutive week, and 10th of the past 11, with below normal rainfall."

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said the cooler temperatures and rain showers that moved in over the weekend were welcome relief after another week of hot and dry weather further stressed corn and soybeans.

"Harvest remains delayed because of the late planting and cooler weather for much of the growing season," Northey said.

The harvest of the third cutting of alfalfa was nearing completion at 94 percent complete, ahead of the normal 88 percent.

Dyersville Sales reported a top price of $285 per ton for large square bales of hay at Wednesday's auction. The Fort Atkinson Hay Auction sold third crop of small square bales for $290 per ton.

Pasture condition declined slightly and was rated 33 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 8 percent good and 1 percent excellent.

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