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Dryness Continues To Hurt Iowa Corn, Soybeans

Dryness Continues To Hurt Iowa Corn, Soybeans

The state's corn and soybean crops continued to deteriorate last week due to dry weather. However, southwest Iowa got heavy rain along with damaging winds and large hail.

The latest weekly weather and crop conditions report shows Iowa's 2011 corn and soybean crops are continuing to deteriorate due to dryness. Most of the crops in the state would benefit from additional rainfall. However, the exception might be found in areas of southwest Iowa which dealt with heavy rain, damaging winds and large hail last week. Many fields were badly battered in that region.

The weekly statewide survey is based on conditions as of Sunday August 21. It shows Iowa's corn condition declined slightly from a 67% good-to-excellent rating on August 14 to a 63% good-to-excellent rating on August 21. The U.S. corn crop rated 60% good-to-excellent on August 14 compared to 57% on August 21.

For soybeans, the survey shows the Iowa crop rated 66% good-to-excellent as of August 21, which is down from 70% a week earlier. The U.S. soybean crop dipped from a 61% good-to-excellent rating on August 14 to 59% for the week ending on Sunday August 21. These data were released by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics service on Monday August 22.

Most of the crops in Iowa would benefit from additional rainfall

"Rain is needed almost everywhere in the state," says Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. Iowa averaged 0.68 of an inch of rain last week, which the normal for the week is 0.95 of an inch.

The weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture website at or on USDA's site Here's a summary of the report:

Iowa Crop Conditions as of Aug. 21, 2011

                                   This Week                Last Week

                   Fair       Good      Excellent        Excellent

Corn           25%        48%          15%               23%

Soybeans   22%        49%          17%               21%

Average temperature for Iowa for the week ending Aug. 21, 2011 was 72.5 degrees F, which is 0.4 degrees above normal. Average rainfall for the week was 0.68 inch, 0.28 inch below normal.

Rain is needed almost everywhere in the state, says Hillaker. The weekly survey shows 95% of the Iowa corn crop has reached milk stage, behind the 96% last year at this time but ahead of the normal 91%. About three-quarters of the corn crop has reached dough stage, ahead of the average which is 65%. Soybean pods are set on 93% of the Iowa soybean crop, compared with 94% normal. "The rain was welcome in southwest Iowa last week, but the high winds and hail were not," notes Hillaker.

While USDA has forecast a national corn crop of 153 bushels per acre and an Iowa crop of 177 bu. per acre in it's August 2011 Crop Report, which was released August 11, some private forecasts have put the national yield closer to 150 bushels per acre. Last week, Iowa State University Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor said he expects the national corn yield average could be as low as 149 bushels per acre, or maybe even lower, depending on weather between now and harvest.

2011 is a year of "haves and have nots" for corn and soybeans

Precipitation amounts varied widely across the state during the week ending August 21, with crop conditions holding steady or improving slightly in areas which received timely rains. Areas that did not receive timely rain have seen crop conditions deteriorate. Southwest Iowa had a bout of severe weather Thursday containing high winds and hail which did damage to crops, grain storage, and homes. Missouri River flood waters seem to be receding which means recovery efforts will be the focus of affected producers for some time to come.

There were 6.0 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Southeast Iowa led the way with all 7.0 days suitable while southwest Iowa had only 3.8 days suitable. Topsoil moisture levels rated 15% very short, 35% short, 47% adequate and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 10% very short, 33% short, 55% adequate and 2% surplus.

In Iowa as of August 21, 95% of the corn crop has reached the milk stage, behind last year's 96% but ahead of the normal 91%. Over three-quarters of the corn crop has reached dough stage, behind last year's 84% but ahead of the average 65%. In Iowa 41% percent of the corn is in the dent stage, an increase of 28 percentage points from the previous week. Corn condition declined slightly to 4% very poor, 8% poor, 25% fair, 48% good and 15% excellent.

Iowa soybean condition declined slightly to 49% good, 17% excellent

Nearly all of the Iowa soybean crop is now blooming. Pods are being set on 92% of the soybean crop compared with 94% last year at this time and the average 93 percent. Some soybean fields have begun turning color. Soybean condition also declined slightly to 4% very poor, 8% poor, 22% fair, 49% good and 17% excellent. Oat harvest is nearly complete.

Second cutting alfalfa hay harvest is nearing completion. Third cutting alfalfa hay harvest advanced to 59% complete, ahead of last year's 56% and the normal 47%. The condition of the hay crop is reported at 7% very poor, 16% poor, 33% fair, 37% good and 7% excellent.

Pasture and range condition rated 8% very poor, 20% poor, 35% fair, 32% good, and 5% excellent. As of August 21 the survey showed 37% of Iowa's pastures are in good to excellent condition compared with 68% good to excellent last year at this time. Livestock conditions are generally good with moderate temperatures. Some reports of flies pestering cattle have been received. Due to dry pastures, livestock producers are supplementing earlier than they would like.



By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Temperatures across Iowa averaged very close to normal throughout the past week with the exception of extreme southeastern Iowa where Keosauqua and Donnellson recorded four consecutive days (Wednesday through Saturday) with highs in the 90s. Temperature extremes ranged from Friday (Aug. 19) afternoon highs of 94 degrees at Keosauqua and Donnellson to a Sunday (Aug. 21) morning low of 48 degrees at Sibley. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 0.4 degrees above normal.

Rainfall amounts were highly variable with none recorded over parts of central and southeast Iowa while heavy rain fell over much of the southwest one-third of the state. The rain was welcome in the southwest Iowa; but it was unfortunately accompanied by high winds and large hail on Thursday (Aug. 18) with severe weather reported in nine counties.

Rain is needed almost everywhere else in the state with very little of Iowa, outside of the southwest region, seeing more than one-half inch during the past week. Rain totals for the week as of August 21, 2011 varied from none at locations such as Webster City, Marshalltown and Iowa City to 5.63 inches at Creston. The statewide average precipitation was 0.68 inch for the week ending August 21 while normal rainfall for the week is 0.95 inch.

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