Crops have matured quicker than usual this year. (Photo by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)
The overall condition of the state’s two primary crops has declined precipitously in the past two weeks amid ongoing heat and dryness, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Tuesday.
There was virtually no rainfall in the state last week, State Climatologist Justin Glisan reported. The highest precipitation total was 0.05 inches in Fort Madison.
The share of Iowa’s corn and soybean crops that is now rated good or excellent is 49%. That’s down from 60% for corn two weeks ago and 59% for soybeans.
About 5% of corn is rated very poor.
“With persistent hot and dry conditions, Iowa is at 166 consecutive weeks of at least moderate drought,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. “Now that Labor Day is behind us, we can expect to see farmers ramping up their pre-harvest preparations as crop conditions are variable and rain chances remain low.”
About 80% of the state is suffering from some degree of drought, and the U.S. Drought Monitor predicts that the remaining 20% is likely to develop drought conditions this month.
About a quarter of the state’s topsoil has adequate moisture for growing crops.
The National Weather Service said strong thunderstorms were possible across much of Iowa on Tuesday, and there are more chances for rainfall on Sunday and Monday.
Just 16% of the state’s pasture land is rated good or excellent, the lowest percentage in three years, the USDA said.
“Hotter than normal temperatures continued to stress livestock across the State, however the reports of death loss were down this week,” the department said.
Last week averaged about 2 degrees above normal in Iowa, Glisan reported. The week before was 10 degrees above normal.
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