Crop Conditions Unchanged Despite Spotty rain, Cooler temperatures

By George Ford, Reporter

While much of the midwest is in a moderate to severe drought, many farmers are feeling the effects of their dying crop, such as this farm west of Center Point, Iowa, on Tuesday, July 11, 2012. (Nikole Hanna/The Gazette-KCRG)


By Katie Stinson

CEDAR RAPIDS - Last week's scattered rainfall and cooler temperatures failed to measurably improve the condition of Iowa's corn and soybean crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday reported topsoil moisture level is unchanged from last week at 60 percent very short, 31 percent short, 9 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

Subsoil moisture also remains unchanged at 70 percent very short, 26 percent short, 4 percent adequate and zero percent surplus.

There were 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork statewide during the past week. East Central Iowa, with 5.5 days, was the only area of the state with less than six days suitable for fieldwork.

Iowa's corn crop is rated 23 percent very poor, 30 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 14 percent good and 1 percent excellent. Thirteen percent of the corn crop is mature, almost three weeks ahead of normal.

Soybean condition is reported at 14 percent very poor, 23 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 23 percent good and 2 percent excellent. Pods are being set on 95 percent of the soybean crop and 5 percent of soybean fields are turning color.

While the moderating weather conditions improved conditions for livestock, only 16 percent of Iowa’s pasture and range land is rated in fair or better condition.

Pasture and range condition is rated 57 percent very poor, 27 percent poor, 13 percent fair, 3 percent good, and zero percent excellent.

Iowa Climatologist Harry Hillaker said statewide average precipitation was 0.60 inches last week. Normal for the week is 0.98 inches.

Harvest of the third cutting of alfalfa hay, at 93 percent complete, is a month ahead of normal. Hay markets in Dyersville and Fort Atkinson have seen a leveling off of prices after a sharp spike above $200 per ton in July.

Dyersville Sales is reporting that current hay yields are not doing well. Alfalfa fields are yielding a single round bale for every 2 acres and alfalfa grass mixed fields are yielding a round bale for every 10 to 11 acres.

At last Wednesday's weekly auction, the market was mostly weak to $10 per ton lower on better hay and fully $20 to $30 lower on hay harvested from Conservation Reserve Program land. The top price of $250 per ton was paid for large squares and $185 on many lots of round bales.

At Fort Atkinson, a few lots of CRP hay showed up priced mostly in the lower end of the grass hay ranges of $95 to $170 per ton. High quality hay seems to be in short supply and bringing higher prices.

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