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Crop conditions declined in last week's record heat

Many areas of state remain short of moisture

Lush green soybeans soak up rain Friday in a Buchanan County field. Corn and soybeans planted after heavy June rains thi
Lush green soybeans soak up rain Friday in a Buchanan County field. Corn and soybeans planted after heavy June rains this year are a cause of concern to Eastern Iowa farmers, who worry that they will be killed by frost before they reach maturity. (Orlan Love/The Gazette)

Crop and pasture conditions deteriorated last week in Iowa due to record heat in many areas and high winds in others.

“Iowa continues to receive periodic rains, but many areas remain short of moisture,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “The hot, dry weather is a concern as we enter the critical pollination time for the corn crop, so hopefully the heat will break and the state’s crop will get some more needed rainfall.”

The USDA's weekly Iowa Crops and Weather report said the percentage of pasture in good or excellent condition is the lowest since the week ending August 13, 2006.

Pasture and range condition rated 9 percent very poor, 25 percent poor, 39 percent fair, 24 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.

More rain is needed to relieve heat stress on crops after last week produced only one-quarter inch of precipitation on average statewide, the USDA report said. That was less than one-fourth of the average rainfall for the week in previous years.

Temperatures for the week averaged six to seven degrees above normal. They ranged from a Tuesday morning low of 43 degrees in Belle Plaine to a Thursday afternoon high of 104 degrees in Keokuk.

Sixteen percent of the corn crop had silked as of Sunday, nearly two weeks ahead of normal.

The condition of the corn crop was reported at 2 percent very poor, 8 percent poor, 28 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 13 percent excellent.

Twenty-six percent of the soybean crop had bloomed, ahead of last year’s 10 percent and the five-year average of 15 percent.The condition of the soybean crop was 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 29 percent fair, 49 percent good, and 10 percent excellent.

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