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Drought conditions taking their toll on crops

(Radio Iowa) – Drought conditions are worsening across Iowa with 98-percent of the state now in some form of drought and 42-percent in severe drought. Joel De Jong, an agronomist with the Iowa State University Extension, says crop conditions are actually in good shape in northwest Iowa, as the region’s gotten some moisture.

De Jong says given the late planting this spring, some plants are being forced to mature faster. “That doesn’t give us as much time to fill those kernels and fill those bean pods,” he says. “Yet, I still think we’re tolerating the drought reasonably well. We had some rainfall in August and it’s helping us out.”

De Jong says further east, crop conditions drop off dramatically. He says to the south, in the Denison and Carroll areas where corn silage harvest has begun, some of that is being combined. He says one more good rain would help carry northwest Iowa crops through.

“We are still filling bean pods in a lot of fields and we’re filling kernels in a lot of fields,” he says. “A little more moisture helps get us a little more dry matter and moderating these temperatures is going to do some of the same thing.”

While highs last week were in the hundreds in parts of Iowa, highs now are back in the 60s and 70s. Few problems are reported with plant diseases, although there have been signs of sudden death syndrome and white mold as well as soybean cyst nematode. He says there have also been some spots of Goss’s Wilt along the Iowa-Minnesota border.