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Northey comments on Iowa crops and weather report

Monday, July 23, 2012

DES MOINES -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today (Monday) commented on the Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service. The report is released weekly from April through October.

"Crop conditions continue to deteriorate as the hot, dry weather persists. Now 40 percent of the corn crop is in poor or very poor condition and only 23 percent is in good to excellent condition. For soybeans it is 30 percent poor or very poor and only 28 percent good to excellent," Northey said. "The weather is also a real challenge for livestock producers as pastures dry up and they work around the clock to keep their animals cool."

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA's site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia. The report follows here:


Another hot, dry week without significant precipitation in most areas of the state caused Iowa crop conditions to decline. With deteriorating crop conditions, there have been reports of some farmers starting to chop corn. Applying fungicide was the week's most common field activity.

There were 6.8 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 74 percent very short, 23 percent short, 3 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. At least 95 percent of the topsoil moisture is rated short to very short in all of Iowa's districts. Subsoil moisture dropped to 64 percent very short, 32 percent short, 4 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.

Ninety-six percent of the corn crop is at or beyond the tasseling stage, ahead of last year's 80 percent and the five-year average of 72 percent. Eighty-nine percent of the corn crop is silking, ahead of last year's 63 percent and the five-year average of 55 percent. Thirty-six percent of the corn crop has reached the milk stage. Twelve percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, almost two weeks ahead of normal. Reports show corn has reached the dent stage in all districts except Northwest and Northeast Iowa. Corn condition is reported at 14 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 21 percent good, and 2 percent excellent. Eighty-five percent of the soybean crop is at or beyond blooming stage, ahead of last year's 74 percent and the five-year average of 72 percent. Pods are being set on 36 percent of the soybean crop, ahead of last year's 19 percent and the five-year average of 26 percent. Soybean condition is rated 10 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 25 percent good, and 3 percent excellent. Ninety-one percent of the oat crop has been harvested, almost three weeks ahead of normal. Harvest of third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 51 percent complete, is a month ahead of normal. Hay condition is rated 27 percent very poor, 29 percent poor, 31 percent fair, 12 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.

Over three quarters of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in poor to very poor condition. Pasture and range condition rated 46 percent very poor, 33 percent poor, 17 percent fair, 4 percent good, and 0 percent excellent. Excessive heat continues to cause livestock losses.


By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Iowa endured yet another week of unusually hot and dry weather. Temperatures averaged 5 to 6 degrees above normal over the east and 8 to 10 degrees above normal over western Iowa with a statewide average of 7.3 degrees above normal. This now has been the hottest start for July and the summer season since 1936. This past week the hottest weather prevailed on Wednesday (18th) and Sunday (22nd). Temperatures peaked at 105 degrees at Iowa City and Keosauqua on Wednesday and 104 degrees at Des Moines, Little Sioux, Osceola and Sioux City on Sunday. There was a slight cool down on Friday and Saturday with Elkader recording a Friday morning low of 55 degrees. However, locations such as Des Moines, Osceola and Shenandoah have recorded eleven consecutive days with high temperatures of ninety degrees or higher through Sunday. Rainfall was below normal over all but a few tiny areas across northern Iowa with Cresco being the wet spot with 2.83 inches of rain. Most of the week's rains came with scattered thunderstorms across about the northeast one-half of Iowa on Wednesday. There were also some isolated thunderstorms over the northern one-third of the state on Saturday and Sunday. Most of southwestern and central Iowa recorded no rain for the week. Some areas, such as Glenwood, Shenandoah, Clarinda and Bedford, have recorded 28 consecutive days with less than 0.01 inch of rain through Sunday. The statewide average precipitation was 0.10 inches while normal for the week is 1.00 inches. Iowa has now recorded below normal rainfall for ten of the past eleven weeks and above normal temperatures for eleven of the past twelve weeks.

(This information was released in a press release by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture)

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