116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Higher than normal temperatures and lower then normal rainfall are starting to take a toll on Iowa crops, the state agriculture secretary reported Monday, as drought and unusually dry conditions cause rivers to dwindle.
“Early planted crops are starting to show moisture stress, and the short-term forecast shows only minor chances of precipitation,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said in a statement.
According to a weekly crop report issued Monday by Naig’s department, Iowa’s corn condition rated 63 percent as good to excellent —14 percentage points below the week before. Soybean condition rated 61 percent as good to excellent — 12 points worse than last week.
In addition, the report noted, “high temperatures were stressful for livestock.”
In the last week, the statewide average temperature was 77.8 degrees, or 8.6 degrees above normal, according to state climatologist Justin Glisan. In northwest Iowa’s Lyon County, Rock Rapids saw the week’s high temperature — 99 degrees on Thursday, or 19 degrees above normal. Though June typically is the wettest month of the year in Iowa, Glisan said, measurable rain fell only a few days during the week.
In Iowa, 46 percent of the state is classified as in moderate drought up from 29 percent the week before, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. About a third of the state is abnormally dry, up from 25 percent the week before. Almost all of Linn and Johnson counties are shown as being abnormally dry. Only segments in southeast and southwest Iowa are shown as being in normal conditions.
In Central Iowa, where moderate drought conditions persist, officials at the public water system for the city of Des Moines asked Monday for customers to begin using water wisely and cut lawn irrigation by 25 percent.
The combination of high demand and low water flow resulted in Des Moines Water Works demand reaching 90 percent of its capacity Friday. The utility that serves 500,000 customers said it delivered nearly 90 million gallons of water that day.
"We have taken proactive steps to ensure we have enough water for customers, but the Raccoon River is low enough that you can walk across it. Now, we are asking our customers to do their part and use water wisely," Chief Executive Officer Ted Corrigan said.
Several Eastern Iowa communities contacted Monday said they currently are not advising customers to conserve water because of the dry conditions. Palo is calling on customers to conserve water, but said it was because of maintenance work on the system. The city asked customers to voluntarily limit watering their lawns, recommending that even-numbered addresses water only during the mornings of Monday, Wednesday and Friday and that odd-numbered addresses water only on the mornings of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The Associated Press and Gage Miskimen of The Gazette contributed.