Farming near the town of Ryan in northeast Iowa, Dan Zumbach says, “Our crops look pretty good. We had some excessive rain earlier this growing season, but corn is doing well now heading into July. Generally, our corn crop here, as of June 29, is taller than the fences. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some fields tasseling in the next two weeks.”
For northeast Iowa, anytime you see a field of corn tasseling by Fourth of July, that’s relatively early, Zumbach says. “Two weeks from now will put us at July 12 to 14, and we will see the early planted corn, planted in late April, start tasseling. Our corn condition has changed for the better during the last two weeks.”
What about soybeans? “Beans are also looking good in northeast Iowa,” he says. “Our narrow-row beans are basically canopied now, which will help control weed pressure in fields. The narrow row beans are in 15-inch row widths. However, even the beans planted in wider rows — the 30-inch-row-width beans — are starting to reach more than 50% canopy.”
Corn, beans doing well
The weekly statewide survey by USDA for June 22-28 shows the Iowa corn crop is rated 66% good and 19% excellent. Soybeans are 69% good, 16% excellent. Those good-to-excellent ratings are significantly better than the five-year average for these two crops at this time of year.
Eastern Iowa is wetter and western Iowa is drier, in general, this week. “Continued wide variation in rainfall across the state brought large amounts of rain in some areas and continued shortages in others for the week ending June 28,” notes Iowa Secretary of Ag Mike Naig. “Overall, Iowa crops are progressing rapidly with warm temperatures for the month of June, and continued warm temperatures in the near-term forecast.”
The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report is available on USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia.
Rain limited Iowa farmers to 4.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending June 28, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. Northeast Iowa saw the highest rainfall and some severe weather. Fieldwork activities included applying fertilizer, spraying, harvesting hay and hauling grain.
As a statewide average, topsoil moisture is rated 2% very short, 9% short, 81% adequate and 8% surplus. Subsoil moisture is 1% very short, 7% short, 85% adequate and 7% surplus. There are scattered reports of corn beginning to silk in the state as of June 28. Corn condition is rated 85% good-to-excellent.
Soybean emergence reached 98%, which is over two weeks ahead of last year at this time and five days ahead of the five-year average for Iowa. Soybean blooming reached 16%, almost two weeks ahead of last year and five days ahead of average. Soybean condition is rated 83% good-to-excellent.
Oats headed has progressed to 86% of the crop, six days ahead of last year. Oat condition is rated 82% good-to-excellent.
Surveying Iowa’s hay crop, 97% of the first cutting of alfalfa hay has been completed as of June 28. Alfalfa hay second cutting reached 9%, one week ahead of last year but four days behind the five-year average. Hay condition is rated 75% good-to-excellent. Pasture condition is rated 69% good-to-excellent. Some cow-calf operations are reporting pinkeye issues, with insect pressure also mentioned.
In a shift from recent weeks, cooler-than-normal temperatures were felt across much of Iowa during the week ending June 28, with up to 3 degrees below average in eastern Iowa. The statewide average temperature was 71.2 degrees, 1.6 degrees below normal.
“A continued active storm track brought thunderstorms through Iowa over several days with above-average rainfall reported across eastern Iowa,” says Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture. “Departures of up to 3 inches above average were found in northeast Iowa, while western Iowa observed deficits of up to an inch.”
Weekly rainfall totals ranged from only 0.02 inch at Atlantic Municipal Airport (Cass County) to 5.4 inches at Clutier and Elkader (Clayton County). The statewide weekly average rainfall was 1.61 inches, while normal is 1.17 inches.
Keokuk Lock and Dam (Lee County) reported the week’s high temperature of 92 degrees on June 26, 6 degrees above normal. Multiple stations reported the week’s low temperature of 50 degrees on June 24, which is 10 degrees below normal.
U.S. corn, soybeans advance
The U.S. corn and soybean ratings last week edged ahead of the five-year averages, according to USDA’s weekly survey. The report shows farmers have seen the corn crop improve nationally. USDA estimates 73% of the corn crop is now in the good-to-excellent category, up from 72% a week ago. Meanwhile, 4% of the nation’s corn is in the silking stage, versus a 7% five-year average for this date.
For the nation’s soybean crop, USDA says 14% of it is in blooming stage, up from an 11% five-year average. The survey shows 95% of the U.S. bean crop has emerged, versus a 91% five-year average. USDA’s survey pegs the soybean crop at 71% good-to-excellent, versus 70% in that category a week ago.