Drought, crop conditions slightly worsened last week

By: - July 26, 2022 2:30 pm

A new area of moderate drought appeared in southeastern Iowa last week with the potential to affect crops, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Predictions of a warm and drier-than-normal finish to July appear to be holding true, with rainfalls last week that were insufficient to stem drought conditions and limited opportunities for storms this week, according to National Weather Service data.

“Much of Iowa received at least some rain, though not enough to ease drought conditions,” Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary, said in his weekly report on Monday.

The only part of the state that had above-average rainfall — the northeast corner — didn’t have a dire need for it: There’s no drought in that area, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Extreme drought is persisting in northwest Iowa in the area of Sioux City, and a pocket of moderate drought appeared in southeast Iowa in the vicinity of Fairfield, according to a Thursday report.

The U.S. Drought Monitor uses weather, streamflows and many other data to estimate the dryness of an area compared with normal conditions. It uses four drought classifications to describe the expected effects on crops, pastures and available water.

The moderate drought of Fairfield could include some crop damage, low streams and developing water shortages. The extreme drought of Sioux City — the second-worst classification to ‘exceptional’ — might include major crop losses and widespread water shortages.

All told last week, rainfalls ranged from no inches in parts of far southwest Iowa to about 4 inches in far northeast Iowa, according to State Climatologist Justin Glisan. Statewide average temperatures were 2.7 degrees above normal.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A USDA report on Monday said crop conditions slipped slightly from a week ago.

Corn conditions were 80% good or excellent, compared with 81% the week before. Soybeans were rated 75% good or excellent at the start of this week, down from 78% the week before.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.