Iowa’s corn crop has emerged ahead of schedule, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly crop progress report, but a lack of rainfall is creating dry topsoil that is threatening the soybean crop.
Ninety-five percent of the corn crop has emerged, 11 days ahead of normal. Corn condition has decreased slightly to 1 percent very poor, 3 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 59 percent good, and 18 percent excellent.
Soybean planting stands at 97 percent complete, ahead of last year’s 84 percent and the five-year average of 83 percent. Sixty-six percent of the expected soybean acreage has emerged, ahead of last year’s 43 percent and the five-year average of 40 percent.
Although weeks of dry weather has allowed rapid planting, a lack of significant rainfall in some areas of Iowa has resulted in poor soybean stands with seeds lying in dry soil. Persistent high winds through the week that ended Sunday slowed spraying and dried out soils.
“Farms that have missed the recent rains, particularly those in the southern part of the state, are drying out quickly due to the high winds and warm temperatures and would welcome some moisture,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey .
There were 5.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared with 6.6 days the previous week. Rainfall amounts in Northwest Iowa ranged from 1 to 4 inches for the week, leaving only 3.4 days suitable for fieldwork while farmers in the rest of Iowa were able to work in their fields at least five days.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 15 percent very short, 36 percent short, 47 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus. South central Iowa is the driest with 83 percent of the topsoil moisture rated short to very short while northwest Iowa has only 9 percent rated short to very short.
In East Central Iowa, there were 6.6 days suitable for field work. Topsoil moisture levels rated 13 percent very short, 53 percent short, 34 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.
The statewide average precipitation was 0.76 inches, while normal for the week is 1.05 inches. State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said rain totals varied from just sprinkles at Wapello, Washington, Mount Pleasant and Keokuk to 3.46 inches at Clermont in Fayette County and 3.09 inches in south central Woodbury County.
Weather conditions have been near optimal for cutting alfalfa hay with 72 percent of the first cutting complete, compared to just 4 percent last year and the five-year average of 12 percent. Hay condition is rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 25 percent fair, 57 percent good, and 12 percent excellent.