Crop Conditions Worsen, 75% of Pastures Rated Poor to Very Poor
By George Ford, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The hottest start to July and the summer since 1936 has caused further deterioration of Iowa's corn and soybean crops and has more than 75 percent of the state's pasture and grazing land rated in poor to very poor condition.
Corn condition is reported at 14 percent very poor, 26 percent poor, 37 percent fair, 21 percent good, and 2 percent excellent, according to Monday's crops and weather report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Soybean condition is rated 10 percent very poor, 20 percent poor, 42 percent fair, 25 percent good, and 3 percent excellent.
Ninety-six percent of the corn crop is at or beyond the tasseling stage, well ahead of last year’s 80 percent and the five-year average of 72 percent. Eighty-nine percent of the corn crop is silking, far ahead of last year’s 63 percent and the five-year average of 55 percent.
Thirty-six percent of the corn crop has reached the milk stage. Twelve percent of the corn crop has reached dough stage, almost two weeks ahead of normal.
Pasture and range land condition is rated 46 percent very poor, 33 percent poor, 17 percent fair, 4 percent good, and 0 percent excellent. The USDA said excessive heat continues to cause livestock losses.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, speaking Monday in Cedar Rapids, said livestock producers are finding it difficult to graze cattle on pastures that have been scorched by the hot, dry weather. Vilsack said the USDA has opened virtually all Conservation Reserve Program acres to haying and grazing, other than those in sensitive areas such as wetlands, stream buffers and rare habitats.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said Iowa has recorded below normal rainfall for 10 of the past 11 weeks and above normal temperatures for 11 of the past 12 weeks.
"Temperatures averaged 5 to 6 degrees above normal over the east and 8 to 10 degrees above normal over western Iowa with a statewide average of 7.3 degrees above normal," Hillaker said. "Locations such as Des Moines, Osceola and Shenandoah have recorded 11 consecutive days with high temperatures of 90 degrees or higher through Sunday."
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