Capital Clicks

Crop conditions decline amid persistent dryness

By: - June 20, 2023 5:17 pm

Soybeans have shown signs of stress from unrelenting heat and dryness. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

The state’s corn and soybean crops suffered further last week from a relative lack of rainfall, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Tuesday.

Iowa’s corn crop is rated 59% good or excellent, which is down from 70% the week before.

Soybeans are rated 56% good or excellent, down from 66%.

Weekend storms brought significant precipitation to parts of central and northwest Iowa, but the statewide average for last week was about half of what is normally expected.

Crop conditions are similar to what they were this time of year in 2021, which ended up being a banner year for yields because of timely rainfall.

But: “While scattered storms are possible this weekend, the official start to summer this week will coincide with a stretch of hot and dry days,” Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary, said Tuesday.

That would be different from 2021, when massive rainfall fell over large areas of the state. Up to 8 inches of rain was reported.

Only 30% of the state’s topsoil has adequate moisture for growing crops. That is down from 70% a month ago. More than two-thirds of the state is suffering from some degree of drought, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report last week.

“Longer term outlooks are showing a return to near-normal rainfall as we enter a critical period for crop growth,” Naig said.

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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.