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Iowa crop conditions stabilize with widespread rains

By: - August 22, 2022 5:14 pm

Some of the heaviest rainfall was in severely drought-stricken areas of northwest Iowa. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Iowa had above-normal statewide rainfall last week for the first time in more than a month, which helped stabilize the conditions of corn and soybean plants, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

An average of 1.12 inches of rain fell across the state, about 23% more than normal, State Climatologist Justin Glisan reported. Some of the heaviest rainfall was in drought-stricken areas of northwest Iowa.

“While showers and thunderstorms brought heavier totals across the drought region, we need several months of above-average precipitation to relieve the most intense drought conditions,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. “The rain received last week was welcomed as stressed soybeans continue to set and fill pods.”

Monday’s USDA report rated 66% of the state’s corn crop as good or excellent, a figure that was unchanged from last week. The report said 62% of soybeans were rated good or excellent, a decline of 1 percentage point.

The relative steadiness of those conditions is a significant turnaround from last week’s report, when the percentages dropped 7 and 8 points for corn and beans, respectively.

Drought conditions have worsened significantly in Iowa in recent weeks, especially in the southern half of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Its latest report from last week shows areas of extreme drought in northwest Iowa and widespread severe drought in southern Iowa, but the map doesn’t reflect some of the recent heavy rains. A new report is expected Thursday.

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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.

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