Capital Clicks

Iowa crops improve with abundant rainfall

By: - July 11, 2022 5:13 pm

Iowa’s corn and soybean crops improve last week with widespread rains. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

The condition of the state’s corn and soybean crops improved as a whole in the past week, although some in northern Iowa were damaged by severe weather, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Monday.

“An early July derecho raced along a path from northwestern South Dakota through northern Iowa early last week, producing swaths of lodged and flattened corn as well as some structural wind damage,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. “Several waves of rainfall also brought widespread relief to drier parts of the state as corn tassels begin to emerge.”

The percentage of the state’s corn crop rated good or excellent on Sunday improved to 81% from 77% the week prior. Soybeans also improved to 79% from 77% last week. Those improvements reversed a weekslong downward trend.

Both crops are in critical stages of development that require ample supplies of water, and much of the state’s topsoil and subsoil have plenty, the USDA report said.

That excludes a large swath of northwest Iowa, where the area suffering extreme drought had continued to expand in the days leading into the derecho, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most recent report, which tracked those conditions as of July 5. Its next report is due Thursday.

Widespread storms for the rest of the week resulted in above-average rainfall for much of the state. The statewide average precipitation for the week was about 2.1 inches, or nearly double what is normally expected, Justin Glisan, the state climatologist, wrote in his weekly report. Spirit Lake, in northwest Iowa, recorded more than 6 inches of precipitation — the most in the state — whereas Washington, in southeast Iowa, had about one-third of an inch.

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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.