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Farmers say 2016 Iowa crop prospects look goodFarmers say 2016 Iowa crop prospects look good

Weather maps show favorable forecast for development, indicating potentially big corn and soybean crops.

Rod Swoboda 1

August 3, 2016

6 Min Read

With development of the 2016 corn and soybean crops now in early August and heading into the homestretch of summer, more farmers in Iowa are sounding optimistic about yield prospects. “I think we’re in for a terrific crop but a poor price,” says Joe Hansen, who farms in Webster County in northern Iowa. But growers in other areas of the state are still mixed about yield potential. “The corn looks good from the road,” says James Kurovsky, in Jasper County in central Iowa. “But you need to walk out into fields and do some yield checks. I have some cornfields and soybean fields that are average at best, and some that are above average.”


In the following weekly update, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach field agronomists report crop conditions in each area of the state entering the first week of August.

Northwest—Joel DeJong: It’s been pretty dry in the very western edge of the area, with less than 2 inches of rain in the last six weeks. Corn has been rolling every day the last 10 days in that area. However, conditions improve as you head east from there. Corn is at the R3 growth stage and soybeans are in the R3 to R4 growth stage. Aphid numbers remain low. Click on U.S. Drought Monitor for a look at the weather situation.

Paul Kassel: There wasn’t much rainfall this past week in the area I cover in northwest Iowa. However, there has been some 3.5-inch to over 6-inch rainfall totals for July in my area. Corn is now in the late milk stage to early dough stage. Fungicide applications are nearing completion, although there is little corn leaf disease present in the fields. The soybean crop is R3 to R4 stage. Fungicide applications are also nearing completion on beans. Soybean aphid numbers have been very low to date, but there are a few reports of aphid numbers reaching 100 plus per plant. 

Northeast—Brian Lang: Most soybeans are in the R3 to R4 growth stage, and most corn is currently in the R2 to R3 stage. Crop growing conditions are quite good in northeast Iowa. If conditions were stressful during R2 to R3 stages, we would see yield reductions from loss of kernels (kernel abortion via tipping back of the ears). Once corn reaches the R4 stage, kernel number is established and yield reductions caused by stress would be from a decrease in kernel size.

In corn, we’re still not finding much for leaf diseases except for common rust. In soybeans, we’ve seen bacterial blight, Septoria brown spot, Cercospora leaf blight, and Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), which is showing up quite prominently in some fields. Continuation of a wetter-than-normal summer should enhance SDS disease development.

Central—Mark Johnson: Early planted corn is in the R4 stage, with the later planted crop at R2. Soybeans are around R4, as well. There has not been very much insect or disease activity in central Iowa, but I have had a few calls on weeds. I continue to see fungicide applications, even with low insect and disease pressure. I haven’t been in a field yet of corn or soybeans that warrants a fungicide and/or insecticide applications.

Southwest and West Central—Aaron Saeugling: Corn is in the R2 to R4 growth stage and looks good. We have observed some fungicide applications being made in the past few weeks. Disease and insect pressure is rated low at this point. Some ears indicate stress factors during pollination, mostly due to high temperatures and planting issues earlier in the growing season. Soybeans are in the R2 to R4 stage with good growing conditions. There has been limited disease pressure, and some bean leaf beetle feeding along with isolated reports of Japanese beetles. Some fields have waterhemp pressure and others have scattered weed issues.

Michael Witt: The west central Iowa area was mostly dry over this past week except for an area in Shelby and Crawford county that received rainfall totaling at around 0.5 to 1.5 inches on July 27. Both corn and soybeans are in good condition with maturities being around R3 to R4 for both crops. Continued, timely rains will be important during this phase of crop growth and development, as pods are setting and filling on soybeans and kernels are developing on corn ears.

Fungicides applications are still occurring for many fields even though the pressure for disease is low as compared to other years. Disease scouting around the area has seen some rusts and grey leaf spot in corn, and a few instances of SDS starting to appear in soybeans. Continued scouting and reporting of disease problems greatly helps all farmers in the community with managing possible issues. Notable insects that have been observed in this area are corn rootworm beetles, Japanese beetles and grasshoppers.

Corn rootworm beetles have been spotty in their numbers with some seeing large volumes and others very few. As corn matures, corn earworms will start to become more prevalent, so be aware and check for infestations. With the forecast of rain and hot and humid conditions returning to Iowa this week, corn and soybeans will continue on their current track of growth and development.

South Central, Southeast—Rebecca Vittetoe: Growth and maturity of corn and soybeans are moving right along in south central and southeast Iowa. Corn is mostly in the R3 (milk) to R4 (dough) stage, and soybeans are mostly in the R3 (begin pod) to R4 (full pod) stage. The most popular questions I’ve been getting is whether to spray or not to spray a fungicide or a fungicide plus insecticide. And “when is it too late to spray?” Just because your neighbors are spraying doesn’t mean that you need to. Instead, scout to see if you are seeing diseases/insects showing up, what diseases/insects, and how much. I answered these questions in my recent newsletter: Crop Connection Newsletter.

Gray leaf spot seems to be a common disease showing up in corn, and within the past week I’ve started to see soybean fields with sudden death syndrome starting to appear.

East Central, Southeast—Virgil Schmitt: Last week we had an inch or less of rain, with most places receiving virtually none. Corn is R3 to R4 growth stage and soybeans are also R3 to R4. Concerns have been voiced about weed escapes and fungicide applications have been made in both corn and soybeans. Soybean sudden death syndrome disease is also showing up.

Find your local ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist here!

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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