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Serving: IA
Rain Is Making Grain In Iowa This Year

Rain Is Making Grain In Iowa This Year

Better corn, soybean production in the rest of the state in 2011 may offset production lost along Iowa's "west coast" where the Missouri River has flooded a significant amount of acreage.

Iowa's corn and soybean crops continue to thrive in cool, wetter-than-usual conditions, with the 2011 corn crop now reported 84% good to excellent and the soybean crop 82% good to excellent. The only difficulty cited in USDA's latest weekly crop conditions survey is that the moisture has made harvesting the first cutting of hay, spraying crops for weeds, and applying nitrogen as a sidedress for corn, very difficult to get done.

The weekly Crops & Weather report is based on a statewide survey. Results for the week ending June 19 were analyzed and released June 20 by the Iowa Office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in Des Moines.

State climatologist Harry Hillaker at the Iowa Department of Agriculture reported above-normal precipitation for the week ending Sunday June 19, with so far no flooding damage except in the Missouri River basin. "This was the eighth week out of the past 10 with greater than usual rainfall in Iowa," he notes.

Iowa's corn and soybean crops are in "pretty good condition"

The result, observes Iowa State University Extension agronomist Roger Elmore, is that the state's corn and soybean crops are "so far, in pretty good condition."

The complete weekly Crops & Weather report is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture website at and on USDA's site  Here are some of the highlights:


Iowa Crop Conditions as of June 19, 2011

                                             This week                         Last week 

                   Fair                 Good                 Excellent        Excellent

Corn            13%                 58%                      26%                24%

Soybeans     15%                 59%                      23%                21%

This weekly statewide survey information was gathered for the week ending Sunday June 19, then analyzed and reported by NASS on Monday afternoon June 20. The statewide average temperature for the week was 68.0 degrees F, or 2.2 degrees below normal. Average rainfall for the week was 1.50 inches, 0.39 above normal.

Corn rates 58% good, 26% excellent; beans 59% good, 23% excellent

Corn condition for Iowa as of June 19 is reported at 1% very poor, 2% poor, 13% fair, 58% good and 26% excellent. Soybean planting is nearly complete. About 95% of the state's soybean crop has emerged, slightly ahead of last year's 94% and ahead of the five-year average of 93%. Soybean condition is reported at 1% very poor, 2% poor, 15% fair, 59% good and 23% excellent.

Iowa's 2011 oat crop is progressing as 54% percent of the oat crop has headed compared with 76% in 2010 and the average 61%. Oat condition stands at zero percent very poor, 2% poor, 20% fair, 63% good and 15% excellent. First cutting alfalfa hay harvest, at 72% complete as of June 19, sits just behind last year's 73%, but just ahead of the normal of 71% complete. Condition of the hay crop this year in Iowa is reported at 1% very poor, 6% poor, 26% fair, 53% good and 14% excellent.

Pasture condition is zero percent very poor, 4% poor, 18% fair, 57% good and 21% excellent. Pastures seem to be flourishing with all the precipitation and livestock are in generally good condition.

Corn crop this year may help rebuild some of depleted U.S. stocks

The crop condition reports this week and last week in Iowa and in other major corn producing states have been good enough to convince commodity traders that the corn crop this year may be adequate to rebuild at least a portion of depleted domestic corn supplies. So far, the Missouri River flooding has yet to affect corn prices, which have dropped from a 2011 high of $7.99 a bushel a week ago to $7 Monday June 20 on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Market analysts are observing that the market seems to think that the expected improved crop prospects will make up for losses in the Missouri River basin. While corn prices have softened during the past week, cattle prices continued their surge on Monday, with feeder cattle rising $2.85 per hundredweight to $135.50 after gaining almost $6 per hundredweight last Thursday and Friday. USDA reported Friday that purchases of young cattle for feedlots was down 11% in May from a year earlier, a prediction for tighter cattle and beef supplies for the second half of 2011 and into early 2012.

Still more rain: Iowa weather summary for week ending June 19

"The wet weather is a serious concern with the continued flooding issues along the Missouri River in western Iowa," notes Hillaker. "Fortunately much of the 2011 Iowa crop in the rest of the state remains in good shape, but the persistent rains have made it difficult to finish spraying and side-dressing nitrogen."

Hillaker says the past week began with unseasonably cool weather. Daytime highs were only in the 60's in some areas on Sunday (June 12), Monday (June 13 and Tuesday June 14, while temperatures slowly climbed a little above normal by Friday (June 17) and into the weekend.

Temperature extremes varied from Thursday (June 16) morning lows of 48 degrees at Sheldon and Sibley to a Friday afternoon high of 90 degrees at Shenandoah. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 2.2 degrees below normal. Rain was scattered throughout the week but no single event brought rain to the entire state.

Locally heavy rain fell across parts of the southeast on Monday and Tuesday nights with significant flash flooding in Davis, Van Buren and Lee counties and areas downstream in Missouri. Isolated areas of heavy rain also fell over parts of northwestern Iowa on Tuesday and Saturday. Weekly rain totals varied from only 0.18 inch at Red Oak to 6.60 inches at Ringsted in Emmet County and 6.53 inches at Keokuk. The statewide average precipitation was 1.50 inches while normal for the week is 1.11 inches.

This was the eighth week out of the past ten with greater than usual rainfall. Fortunately there were no areas of widespread heavy rainfall in the Iowa portion of the Missouri River watershed. Nevertheless a gradual increase in flows from areas upstream of Iowa allowed Missouri River levels to continue a slow rise through much of the week. Finally, there were scattered reports of high winds and large hail on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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