DES MOINES Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey 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.
"The hot dry weather we experienced last week was a real challenge and showed as the condition of both the corn and soybean crop deteriorated," Northey said. "Less than half of the corn and soybeans are in good to excellent condition now and need more moisture. The high temperatures have also presented challenges for livestock producers as they seek to keep their animals cool."
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture
Triple digit temperatures and little if any rainfall in most areas of the State caused crop conditions to decline significantly during the week. Iowa farmers not only faced hot, dry conditions but insect populations are on the rise with many fields being treated.
There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. Topsoil moisture levels declined to 48 percent very short, 40 percent short, 12 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus. Central and South Central Iowa are the driest with at least 96 percent of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short. Subsoil moisture dropped to 38 percent very short, 44 percent short, 18 percent adequate, and 0 percent surplus.
Sixty-two percent of the corn crop is at or beyond the tasseling stage, well ahead of last year's 3 percent and the five-year average of 16 percent. Forty-eight percent of the corn crop is silking, nearly two weeks ahead of normal. Corn condition is reported at 5 percent very poor, 13 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. The combined good to excellent percentage of 46 is at the lowest level for the first week of July since 1993. Fifty-two percent of the soybean crop is blooming, ahead of last year's 29 percent and the five-year average of 34 percent. Soybean condition is rated 4 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 42 percent good, and 6 percent excellent. Ninety-two percent of the oat crop has turned color, well ahead of last year's 38 percent and the five-year average of 49 percent. Forty-five percent of the oat crop has been harvested, almost three weeks ahead of normal. Oat condition is rated 4 percent very poor, 16 percent poor, 36 percent fair, 40 percent good, and 4 percent excellent. Harvest of second cutting of alfalfa hay, at 90 percent complete, is a month ahead of the normal pace. Hay condition is rated 9 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 28 percent good, and 1 percent excellent.
Just under one-half of Iowa's pasture and range land is rated in poor to very poor condition. Pasture and range condition rated 16 percent very poor, 33 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 13 percent good, and 1 percent excellent. The excessive heat also caused stress for livestock with some deaths being reported.