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Serving: IA
Heat Is Helping Iowa Crop Mature Rapidly

Heat Is Helping Iowa Crop Mature Rapidly

Areas of northwest and north central Iowa received heavy rain last week, and 100 mph winds cut a swath across central Iowa flattening corn fields and damaging buildings. This week heat is the big story.

The heat is certainly on as we move into the last part of July and it is helping Iowa's corn and soybean crops mature rapidly. The 2011 crops are nearly catching up to the 5-year average. Fortunately, 80% of the corn crop and 82% of the soybean crop remains in good to excellent conditions despite heavy rains and flooding in northwest and western Iowa, damage from straight line winds in central and eastern Iowa, and dry conditions in southern and southeast Iowa.

About 56% of Iowa's 2011 corn crop was tasseling as of July 17, well behind last year's 78% at this time but only marginally behind the 5-year average of 57%.

Around 56% of Iowa's corn crop is tasseling, which is about average

That's the main message in the latest Iowa Crops & Weather report issued July 18 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. It is based on information gathered on July 17 from crop reporters statewide.

The complete weekly report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at or on USDA's site at  Highlights of the report follow here:


Iowa Crop Conditions as of July 17, 2011

                                   This Week                Last Week

                   Fair       Good      Excellent        Excellent

Corn           16%        52%          28%               28%

Soybeans   15%        55%          27%               24%


Hot weather is moving crop development along in last half of July

Areas of northwest and north central Iowa received rain with isolated heavy rain reported this past week. Strong straight line winds cut a swath across central Iowa flattening corn and damaging grain storage and outbuildings. Power lines were downed and a great deal of tree damage was reported. Many farmers, especially in south central and southeast Iowa, would like to receive some rain.

There were 5.3 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Only northwest and north central Iowa had less than 5.0 day s suitable with northwest Iowa having just 3.3 days suitable. On the other extreme, southeast Iowa had 7.0 days suitable. Some areas in southeast Iowa have yet to receive measurable rainfall in July. Topsoil moisture levels rated 3% very short, 20% short, 70% adequate, and 7% surplus. Subsoil moisture rated 2% very short, 10% short, 78% adequate, and 10% surplus.

Crop production increased rapidly during the past week due to warm and humid conditions. About 56% percent of the corn crop is now tasseling, behind last year's 78%, but only marginally behind the average 57%. Nearly one-third of the corn crop is silking, which remains behind the 57% in 2010 and the five-year average of 38%. Corn condition is reported at 1% very poor, 3% poor, 16% fair, 52% good, and 28% excellent.

Soybean condition statewide is 55% good, 27% excellent as of July 17

About 61% percent of the Iowa soybean crop is blooming, slightly behind the previous year's 67% and five-year average of 62%. Pods are being set on 6% of the soybean crop, compared with 17% last year at this time and the average 16%. Soybean condition is reported at 1% very poor, 2% poor, 15% fair, 55% good and 27% excellent.

As of July 17 80% of the 2011 oat crop has turned color, behind the 91% in 2010 and the average 85%. Twenty-one percent of the oat crop has been harvested, behind last year's 32% but ahead of the normal 17%. Oat condition stands at zero percent very poor, 3% poor, 23% fair, 58% good, and 16% excellent.

Second cutting alfalfa hay harvest, at 67% complete, is now ahead of last year's 57% and the normal 55%. The condition of the hay crop is reported at 2% very poor, 7% poor, 27% fair, 50% good, and 14% excellent.

Pasture and range conditions are 1% very poor, 6% poor, 25% fair, 52% good, and 16% excellent. Cattle are suffering from heat as well as fly infestations and pink eye. High heat and humidity are suppressing appetites and thus slowing weight gain.


IOWA PRELIMINARY WEATHER SUMMARY for week ending July 17, 2011

By Harry Hillaker, state climatologist at the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship in Des Moines

There was plenty of newsworthy weather in Iowa over the past week. Very strong thunderstorm winds caused damage in at least 23 counties early Monday (11th) morning with severe damage across a wide swath of east central Iowa. Torrential downpours caused localized flash flooding centered upon Dickinson County on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings; Worth County on Friday evening and Cass County on Saturday morning. Finally, excessive heat and humidity prevailed statewide on Sunday (10th) and Monday (11th) and again over the next weekend (15th-17th).

Pleasant weather was briefly enjoyed between the two heat waves. Temperatures with the first heat wave reached 96 degrees at Keokuk on Monday while the second event saw the temperature climb to 99 at Knoxville on Sunday (17th). Dew point temperatures really soared with the second heat wave producing official heat indices up to 110 at Ames on Saturday and 115 degrees at Sioux City on Sunday with unofficial readings as high as 126. Meanwhile Mason City recorded a Wednesday morning low of 52 degrees. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.8 degrees above normal.

Most of Iowa received rain on Monday (11th) morning, Tuesday (12th) and Friday (15th) with more widely scattered activity the rest of the week. Rain amounts were highly variable with weekly totals varying from just a trace at Allerton in Wayne County to 8.19 inches just west of Spirit Lake. The statewide average precipitation was 1.23 inches while normal for the week is 0.96 inches.

TAGS: Soybean USDA
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