Capital Clicks

Corn and soybeans rebound with increasing rainfall

By: - July 17, 2023 4:53 pm

Last week was the wettest in Iowa since early May. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Iowa’s corn and soybean crops were buoyed last week by above-normal rainfall and are now in their best shape since the middle of June, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Monday.

About 64% of the state’s corn crop is rated good or excellent, up from a low this growing season of 56% last month.

About 58% of soybeans are rated good or excellent. That crop bottomed out last month at 48%.

“Iowa received much needed and widespread rainfall last week,” Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary, said Monday.

An average of about 1.24 inches of precipitation was reported statewide. About an inch of rain is normal.

It was the wettest week since early May, according to State Climatologist Justin Glisan. But he noted that parts of far southern Iowa had little rain.

Precipitation totals for last week ranged from 0.12 inches in Bloomfield to 5.29 inches in Nora Springs, Glisan said.

Southeast Iowa has the largest pocket of extreme drought — the second-to-worst dryness classification that is issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Rainfall this month halted a six-week pattern of expanding drought, but last week it was still among the worst overall it’s been since late last year. A new Drought Monitor report that takes into account last week’s heavy rainfall is set to be released on Thursday.

The USDA reported the available amount of water in the soil for crops has improved considerably since a month ago, when less than a third of the state’s topsoil had adequate or surplus moisture. As of Sunday, about 57% of topsoil was adequate or better.

But that figure trails the past two years — which despite drought conditions were among the top years for average yields. In 2022, about 70% of the state’s topsoil had sufficient moisture at this time of the year, and in 2021 it was 67%.

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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.