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Half Of Iowa Corn Crop Still Ranks Poor To Very PoorHalf Of Iowa Corn Crop Still Ranks Poor To Very Poor

Iowa had cooler temperatures and widespread rain last week, but 49% of state's corn remains in poor to very poor condition.

Rod Swoboda 1

August 14, 2012

6 Min Read

The latest weekly survey shows the condition of Iowa's corn and soybean crops is unchanged from a week earlier, as 49% of the state's corn is in poor to very poor condition and 37% of the soybeans are rated poor to very poor. That's according to the Crops & Weather report released August 13 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. It is based on conditions as of August 12.

The good news is the statement in the weather summary by state climatologist Harry Hillaker: For the week ending August 12, "statewide temperatures averaged 2.5 degrees below normal, ending a streak of nine consecutive hotter-than-normal weeks."


Nationally, half the U.S. corn crop is currently in poor condition and 39% of soybeans are in poor to very poor condition, says USDA. This summer, Iowa and other Corn Belt states from Nebraska to Ohio have struggled with the worst drought since the 1950s and the hottest July since 1936.

Most of Iowa is running 6 to 8 inches below normal in precipitation this year

"Iowa has recently seen some welcome relief with cooler weather and light precipitation for much of the state," notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "Soybean conditions this past week improved for the first time in nearly two months. But more moisture is needed as the state's crops remain stressed."

The weekly crop and weather report shows that more than 90% of Iowa's soil has too little moisture. A year ago almost all the soil across the state had adequate moisture. The widespread drought of 2012 has caught most Corn Belt states, except for Minnesota, where ample rain this year has left it with only 15% of its corn in poor to very poor condition as of August 12. Illinois is reporting 75% of its corn is in poor to very poor condition, Indiana is 71%, Missouri is 84%, Ohio is 53%, Nebraska is 41% and Wisconsin is 40%.

Last Friday in its monthly August Crop Production Report (the first monthly report of 2012 with yield estimates based on actual measurements taken in fields) USDA forecast this year's corn yield nationwide will average 123 bushels per acre, 43 bushels per acre lower than USDA was projecting this past spring. Iowa's statewide average corn yield for 2012 is currently forecast at 141 bushels per acre, which if realized would be the lowest since 1997. Nationally, this year's corn crop is expected to be about 4 billion bushels less than the 14.8 billion bushels USDA was projecting at planting time.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~The weekly crop conditions report, Iowa Crops & Weather, is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture's website www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site www.nass.usda.gov/ia.  Here's a summary of that report released August 13:

Almost two weeks ahead of normal, 45% of Iowa corn crop has reached dent stage

CROP REPORT: Iowa saw a mix of cooler temperatures and widespread rainfall during the week ending August 12, 2012. Rainfall amounts varied widely with the heaviest precipitation in northeast and southwest Iowa. The past week's activities included spraying crops, harvesting oats, cutting hay and chopping corn.

There were 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels improved to 60% very short, 31% short, 9% adequate and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture is rated at 70% very short, 26% short, 4% adequate and 0% surplus.

About 94% of the Iowa corn crop has reached the milk stage, ahead of last year's 81% and the five-year average of 73%. Iowa's corn crop is now 80% at dough stage, well ahead of last year's 43% and the five-year average of 37%. Forty-five percent of the corn crop has reached dent stage, almost two weeks ahead of normal. Seven percent of Iowa's 2012 corn crop is now mature, almost three weeks ahead of normal. Corn condition declined slightly and now is reported at 22% very poor, 29% poor, 33% fair, 15% good and 1% excellent.

Already 7% of Iowa's corn crop has reached maturity; pods set on 88% of soybeans

Pods are being set on 88% of this year's Iowa soybean crop as of August 12. Soybean condition improved for the first time in seven weeks and now is rated 14% very poor, 23% poor, 38% fair, 24% good and 1% excellent. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 88% complete, is a month ahead of normal.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~Only 14% of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition. Pasture and range condition is rated 59% very poor, 27% poor, 11% fair, 3% good and 0% excellent. Livestock experienced little to no stress due to seasonable weather during the week ending August 12.

IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY—for week ending August 12, 2012

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

The past reporting week began with unseasonably cool weather on Monday (August 6) morning when daily record lows were set at a few northeastern Iowa locations. Belle Plaine reported the lowest temperature with a 43 degree minimum. However, excessive heat made a very quick, but relatively brief, return. Highs climbed into the mid-90s over the far west by Monday afternoon with low 100s recorded over the extreme south on Tuesday, August 7. Keosauqua was the hot spot with a 103 degree maximum.

Much cooler air spread across the state on Wednesday but not before highs reached into the low to mid 90s over the south. This time the cool weather was to last with below normal temperatures prevailing from Wednesday night through the weekend. Daily record low temperatures were set at a few locations on Saturday (August 11) morning with Northwood and Mason City reporting lows of 42 degrees while daytime highs managed to climb only into the mid-60s over northern Iowa on Sunday. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged from 1 degree above normal over the far southwest to 4 degrees below normal over the east.

Statewide temperatures below normal, Iowa ended streak of nine hotter-than- normal weeks

Statewide temperatures averaged 2.5 degrees below normal, for the week that ended August 12, and that ended a streak of nine consecutive hotter-than-normal weeks.

~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~Light rain was widespread between Tuesday (August 7) evening and Thursday (August 9) morning and again from Saturday (August 11) night into Sunday (August 12). However, rain amounts in excess of 1 inch were limited to very small parts of southwest Iowa on Wednesday morning and over the northeast on Wednesday night. Rain totals for the week varied from just a trace at Le Mars to 2.49 inches at Ionia in Chickasaw County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.44 inches or a little less than one-half of the weekly normal of 0.96 inches.

Last week was the 8th consecutive week of drier-than-normal weather for Iowa

This was the eighth consecutive drier-than-normal week for Iowa. An additional statewide average of 0.28 inches of rain fell after the completion of the crop survey on Sunday and will be included in next week's report, with a few southeast Iowa locations receiving more than an inch late Sunday.

About the Author(s)

Rod Swoboda 1

Editor, Wallaces Farmer

Rod, who has been a member of the editorial staff of Wallaces Farmer magazine since 1976, was appointed editor of the magazine in April 2003. He is widely recognized around the state, especially for his articles on crop production and soil conservation topics, and has won several writing awards, in addition to honors from farm, commodity and conservation organizations.

"As only the tenth person to hold the position of Wallaces Farmer editor in the past 100 years, I take seriously my responsibility to provide readers with timely articles useful to them in their farming operations," Rod says.

Raised on a farm that is still owned and operated by his family, Rod enjoys writing and interviewing farmers and others involved in agriculture, as well as planning and editing the magazine. You can also find Rod at other Farm Progress Company activities where he has responsibilities associated with the magazine, including hosting the Farm Progress Show, Farm Progress Hay Expo and the Iowa Master Farmer program.

A University of Illinois grad with a Bachelors of Science degree in agriculture (ag journalism major), Rod joined Wallaces Farmer after working several years in Washington D.C. as a writer for Farm Business Incorporated.

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