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Serving: IA
cornfield at silking stage
POLLINATION: In northwest Iowa, 44% of the corn is now at the silking stage, well ahead of the 35% state average.

Despite dry weather, Iowa corn at 83% good-to-excellent

But weekly report released July 13 does show stress in some dry areas.

Both Iowa’s corn and soybean crops are rated 83% good-to-excellent, according to USDA’s latest weekly crop conditions survey released July 13. The crops are continuing to make good progress, despite adverse weather last week in some areas of the state.

Eleven western Iowa counties entered the early stages of drought last week, according to USDA’s drought monitor map. Portions of Dallas, Boone and Calhoun counties were listed as being in moderate drought on July 9. All of Greene County and most of Guthrie and Carroll counties in west-central Iowa were also in moderate drought. Woodbury and Plymouth were two northwest counties listed in moderate drought. But storms brought needed rain across a swath of northwest Iowa later in the week.

Wind damage to some cornfields

In areas of northeast and eastern Iowa, storms July 9 and July 11 delivered rain and caused wind damage to some cornfields. “The amount of damage is related to the particular corn hybrid, row direction relative to wind direction and the growth stage,” says Brian Lang, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist at Decorah. “Hopefully, all fields will have time to upright themselves before pollination.”

“While some areas of the state got rain this past week, areas of western and west-central Iowa missed out and are experiencing moisture stress, dry soils for crops and pastures. Some areas also experienced localized hail events over the weekend,” notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Short-term forecasts favor continued warm temperatures as corn pollination is underway in many areas of the state.”

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report is available on USDA’s site at

Crop report

In spite of spotty showers, Iowa farmers had 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 12, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Fieldwork included spraying corn and soybeans and harvesting hay.

Topsoil moisture is rated 5% very short, 22% short, 70% adequate and 3% surplus for Iowa as a statewide average. Subsoil moisture is rated 3% very short, 17% short, 78% adequate and 2% surplus.

Corn in silking stage or beyond reached 35%, which is eight days ahead of the previous year and two days ahead of the five-year average. There were scattered reports of corn reaching dough stage. Corn condition is rated 83% good-to-excellent. Soybean blooming reached 58%, two weeks ahead of last year and six days ahead of average. Soybeans setting pods reached 10%, which is two weeks ahead of last year and two days ahead of average. Soybean condition is rated 83% good-to-excellent.

Oats turning color reached 73%, eight days ahead of last year and three days ahead the average. There were reports of some oats being harvested for grain. Oat condition is rated 86% good-to-excellent.
Alfalfa hay second cutting reached 61% complete, 11 days ahead of last year and four days ahead of the average. Hay condition is rated 76 % good-to-excellent. Pasture condition is rated 65% good-to-excellent. There were reports of heat stress and increased insect populations affecting livestock.

Weather summary

“Warmth persisted across the state during the week ending July 12 with positive departures of up to 5 degrees [F],” says Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture. “Statewide average temperature for the week was 77.8 degrees, 3.3 degrees above normal. Several days during the period were also active with multiple waves of showers and thunderstorms, especially in northeast Iowa. Below-average totals of over an inch were reported in the driest portion of the state, namely west-central Iowa, while parts of eastern Iowa reported above-average totals.”

Weekly rainfall totals ranged from no accumulation at multiple stations in southern Iowa to 3.68 inches in Anamosa (Jones County). The statewide weekly average precipitation was 0.92 inch, while normal is 1.05 inches. Osceola (Clarke County) and Perry (Dallas County) reported the week’s high temperature of 97 degrees on the July 8, on average 11 degrees above normal. Cedar Rapids (Linn County) reported the week’s low temperature of 54 degrees on the July 12, which is 11 degrees below normal.

U.S. corn, beans yet to catch up

Looking at the national picture, USDA’s weekly crop report released July 13 shows corn and soybean ratings have yet to catch up to their five-year averages. The U.S. corn crop is estimated at 69% good-to-excellent, down from 71% a week ago. The survey shows 29% of the nation’s corn is now at the silking stage of growth, versus 32% for the five-year average.

Corn silking progress in the major corn-producing states of Illinois and Nebraska is behind the five-year averages. Corn in Nebraska is 19% silked, versus a 29% five-year average. The Illinois corn crop is silking at 36%, versus a 53% five-year average. Corn silking in Iowa is now at 35%, versus 27% for its five-year average. For the U.S., 3% of the nation’s corn crop has entered the dough stage, equal to the five-year average.

The nation’s soybean crop is now 48% in blooming stage, which is ahead of the 40% five-year average. Meanwhile, 11% of the U.S. soybean crop is setting pods, versus a 10% five-year average. USDA estimates the nation’s soybean crop has a good-to-excellent rating of 68%, versus 71% a week ago.

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