Capital Clicks

Crop conditions worsen slightly amid ‘sweltering conditions’

By: - June 21, 2022 4:47 pm

Some crops suffered in the past week’s heatwave, according to the USDA. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Average statewide temperatures were more than 6 degrees above normal last week with little rainfall for most of the state, and corn and soybean conditions dipped slightly, according to a weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

“Sweltering conditions blanketed the state on multiple days,” wrote Justin Glisan, the state climatologist, in his weather summary.

Little Sioux, on the western edge of the state, had a high temperature of 102 degrees on one of those days.

Thunderstorms produced significant rainfall in parts of central and north-central Iowa — including 4.6 inches in Story City on June 14 — that flooded fields and streets in several counties, Glisan said. But the rains were less pronounced in portions of northwest Iowa that have been the driest in the state.

The U.S. Drought Monitor reported last week that drought conditions had worsened in that area — stretching northeast from Sioux City — and expanded the cropland that is under moderate and severe drought. It was the first time that overall drought conditions had worsened in about two months. The next report is expected Thursday.

About 83% of the state’s corn crop was rated good or excellent in the latest report, along with 80% of soybeans. Those percentages are down from 86 and 82 last week.

“Unseasonably hot temperatures blanketed Iowa last week as isolated areas of moisture stress began showing in corn and soybeans,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. “Pockets of dryness are showing up in southeastern Iowa and drought has expanded in the northwest, where late spring rains have been sparse.”

About 2% of corn and 3% of soybeans were rated poor or very poor this week.

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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.