Capital Clicks

Crops significantly deteriorate during scorching week

By: - August 28, 2023 5:16 pm

The share of the state’s corn crop rated good or excellent declined by 6 percentage points last week. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Last week’s temperatures in Iowa averaged about 10 degrees above normal — and much of the state had little or no rainfall — which led to a substantial decline in crop conditions, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Monday.

The share of the state’s corn and soybeans that is rated good or excellent receded 6 percentage points in a week, which reversed the improvements earlier this month.

About 54% of the state’s corn crop is rated good or excellent. About 53% of soybeans have those designations. Those ratings are among the worst of this growing season.

Most of last week was very hot. On Wednesday, Waterloo had a record-setting high temperature of 105 degrees, State Climatologist Justin Glisan reported.

There were a handful of small areas that had rainfall of a half inch or more, but wide swaths of west-central and far eastern Iowa had none. The state averaged about 0.18 inches of precipitation, which is less than one-fifth of normal.

Drought conditions are the worst they’ve been in more than a month, and that’s according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report last week that did not fully take into account the heat streak. A new report is due Thursday.

The USDA report said less than a third of the state has sufficient soil moisture for growing crops. Less than a quarter of the state has decent pasture for livestock.

“The hot and humid weather severely stressed livestock across the state this week, with several reports of death loss,” the report 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.