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Survey shows 41% of Iowa corn has begun to silkSurvey shows 41% of Iowa corn has begun to silk

Iowa corn crop is running 12 days behind last year and one week behind five-year average.

Rod Swoboda

July 23, 2019

6 Min Read
corn silking
VERY VARIABLE: “As I travel the state, I see and hear about corn and soybean crops ranging from good to bad across Iowa this year,” says Ag Secretary Mike Naig.

USDA’s latest weekly statewide survey, released July 22, indicates 41% of this year’s Iowa corn crop has now entered silking stage. That’s 12 days behind last year and a full week behind the five-year average. Only 1% of the crop has reached dough stage, five days behind last year and five days behind average. Corn condition is rated 63% good to excellent. Iowa’s soybean crop is 67% good-to-excellent.

“After several days of sweltering heat and limited rainfall, Iowa crops got the rain they needed this past weekend,” notes Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Farmers are very grateful for the mild temperatures which are forecast for the next several days, as we begin this week.”

Looking at crop progress nationally, U.S. corn and soybean conditions did not improve last week. The overall condition of the nation’s corn crop is rated 57% good to excellent, compared to 58% a week ago. USDA says 35% of the nation’s corn crop was in silk stage as of July 21, compared to 66% for the five-year average. And 5% of the nation’s crop has now entered dough stage vs. a five-year average of 10%.

The U.S. soybean crop is rated 54% good to excellent. And, 40% of the U.S. soybean crop is blooming vs. a 66% five-year average. USDA says 7% of the soybeans in the U.S. are now setting pods, well below the five-year average of 28%.

The complete weekly Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions Report is available on USDA’s site at nass.usda.gov/ia.

Crop report

Iowa farmers had five days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending July 21, 2019, according to USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service. There were some reports of crops lying flat, and some green-snap occurring in corn due to high winds from various storms throughout the state. Fieldwork activities included spraying corn and soybeans and harvesting hay and oats.

Topsoil moisture condition is currently rated 2% very short, 14% short, 78% adequate and 6% surplus as a statewide average. Crop reporting districts in the southern third of Iowa, along with the state’s east central district, report topsoil moisture conditions as 25% short to very short. Subsoil moisture is rated 1% very short, 9% short, 81% adequate and 9% surplus.

The weekly survey indicates 41% of Iowa’s corn crop has begun to silk, 12 days behind last year and 1 week behind the five-year average. Only 1% of the crop has reached the dough stage, five days behind last year and five days behind average. Corn condition is rated 63% good to excellent.

The survey shows 47% of Iowa’s soybean crop has started to bloom, 13 days behind last year and 9 days behind average. Only 4% of the bean crop has started setting pods, nearly two weeks behind average. Soybean condition is rated 64% good to excellent.

Iowa’s oat crop has reached the stage where 78% has started coloring, four days behind last year and five days behind average. Already, 12% of the oat crop has been harvested for grain, nine days behind last year and nine days behind average. Oat condition as of July 21 declined slightly from the previous week to 61% good-to-excellent.

The second cutting of alfalfa hay has reached 56% cut, 11 days behind last year and 8 days behind average. Hay condition is rated 61% good to excellent. Pasture condition declined for the third straight week with 61% good to excellent. High temperatures this past week caused some stress to livestock.

Weekly weather summary

Thunderstorm activity was present across Iowa nearly every day last week, with much of the state reporting above average rainfall, says Justin Glisan, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture. A large dome of high pressure over the Midwest also brought very hot conditions, including triple digit heat indices Wednesday through Friday. Glisan provides the following summary for the week.

Statewide average temperature was 79.6 degrees, 4.5 degrees above normal. Iowa had spotty showers and thunderstorms during afternoon and evening on Sunday (July 14) with Dubuque Lock & Dam (Dubuque County) reporting 0.53 inch of rain. High temperatures were in the upper 80s and lower 90s with the average high at 90 degrees, 5 degrees above normal — to start the week.

Light rain showers formed across northern Iowa into Monday morning with only a handful of stations reporting measurable totals. Tuesday, July 16, was sunny and breezy with winds out of the south. High temperatures were in the mid-to-upper 80s, one to two degrees above average. Moisture from the remains of Tropical Storm Barry helped thunderstorms form across Iowa’s northern half.

The storms consolidated into a well-organized squall line stretching from northwest Iowa to the southeast corner during daytime hours Wednesday. There were several reports of severe straight-line winds across 9 counties in northwest and southeast Iowa; Harlan (Shelby County) and Mediapolis (Des Moines County) had 70 mph wind gusts.

A line of storms re-fired around midnight and extended into central Iowa early Thursday morning. Much of Iowa received measurable rain over the 24-hour period ending at 7 a.m. with multiple locations getting torrential downpours from stronger storms, especially across northern and south-central Iowa. Osage (Mitchell County) had 2.60 inches while Rathbun Dam (Appanoose County) received 1.98 inches. Statewide average precipitation was 0.70 inch, or 0.54 inch above average.

Temperatures varied with storms

Temperatures varied significantly, from cooler than average in locations along the path of the squall to above average in southern and eastern Iowa. On Thursday the band of thunderstorms gradually dissipated. In absence of cloud cover and rain, highs reached into the 90s, creating uncomfortable conditions. Overnight lows remained in the 70s across Iowa with pockets of low 80s in southwest Iowa. Average minimum statewide temperature was 74 degrees, 11 degrees above average.

Friday was sweltering across Iowa as highs climbed into the lower 90s north and middle 90s south. Dew point temperatures were also in the upper 70s and lower 80s. The combination of heat and humidity boosted heat indices into triple digits under clear skies; Le Mars Airport (Plymouth County) reported 120 degrees while Keokuk Municipal Airport (Lee County) observed 110 degrees.

Statewide average temperature was 92 degrees Friday, 8 degrees above average. Overnight lows mirrored what was experienced Thursday night. Saturday was an active weather day with severe straight-line winds across 29 counties as a system of strong thunderstorms moved through Iowa. Most of the state reported measurable rainfall, ranging from 0.10 inch in Dubuque (Dubuque County) to 1.95 inches in Knoxville (Marion County).

Light rain continued into Sunday morning in southern Iowa as a cold front moved through the state, bringing much cooler conditions. Weekly rain totals ranged from 0.11 inch at Fulton (Jackson County) and Le Claire Lock & Dam (Scott County) to 4.91 inches at Estherville Municipal Airport (Emmet County). Statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.51 inches while normal is 1.01 inches.

The week’s high temperature of 99 degrees was reported July 19 in Little Sioux (Harrison County), 13 degrees above average. Sibley (Osceola County) had the week’s low of 56 degrees on July 21, four degrees below average. A maximum overnight low of 81 degrees was reported July 19 at airports in Davenport (Scott County) and Ottumwa (Wapello County); these readings were 16 and 18 degrees above average, respectively.


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