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Dry weather continues to stress crops

(Radio Iowa) – The weekly crop report from the U.S.D.A. shows the extreme heat last week caused stress on the corn and soybean crops and caused their condition to decline. The report shows a total of 22- percent of the topsoil and 26 percent of the subsoil had adequate and surplus moisture — which was a decline of six and eight percentage points from last week.

Only 39-percent of the corn crop was rated in good or excellent condition, the same held true for the soybeans. While the heat took its toll on many crops, some that were planted late got a boost from the heat. Robert Lynch farms 16-hundred acres in Humboldt County near Gilmore City.

“It actually probably helped some of the crop. It speed them up a little bit,” according to Lynch. “They were lagging in some of the growing-degree units, and so it helped some if there was enough moisture out there in the ground. If there wasn’t enough moisture, then it started to pull moisture from the stalks and the beans, and starting to make them go backwards you might say.”

A lot of the impact of the heat depends on when the crops were planted. “Some of the corn up here that was planted in April, it’s doing good. It’s roots were down deep enough it really didn’t do much damage to it,” Lynch explains.

“Some of the latter planted corn, that corn, it was starting to shrivel it up pretty good. Same with the beans. Our later planted beans, most of our beans were planted were towards the end of June, and those beans have pods out there, but the pods are pretty flat and there’s not much in them yet.”

Lynch says they’ve had some scattered showers that have helped the crops. State Climatologist, Harry Hillaker, says many Iowa cities didn’t see much for rain at all in August and set records for being dry.

“The lowest one in the state –Mount Pleasant with no rainfall during the month of August — certainly setting the record with that,” Hillaker says, “three different cities, Burlington, Donnellson, Fort Madison, all with just traces of rain there. In each case, a new record for August as well. Iowa City setting a record with .13 inches of rainfall. The Cedar Rapids airport with point-eleven inches there, also a record for the airport.”

Hillaker says there may be additional record-low rainfall amounts once all the records are tallied.