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Soil moisture dropping in Iowa farm fields

(Radio Iowa) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop update shows the dry weather is starting to take its toll on the availability of a vital resource for Iowa’s corn and soybean crop. The top soil moisture is evaporating — with adequate moisture down six-percentage points in the past week.

The report shows only about one third of Iowa fields now having adequate to surplus moisture. Lurlin Hoelscher farms 2,500 acres in Franklin, Hamilton and Hardin counties. “It’s starting in some areas to burn a little bit. I think a rain would help us out, especially on our late planting, but it’s going to have to come pretty quick,” Heolscher says.

Wet weather was the problem at the start of the planting season and that created another issue. “Our problem is we went in and replanted some of our corn, and we didn’t tear in up, we drove in between what was standing there so that we didn’t tear out the good corn. I’m talking we did some hundred and some acres of that,” Hoelscher says.

“It’s coming along, but we’re going to have a real mess this fall because we’re going to have 30-percent corn and 20-percent corn in the same rows.” The percentage he is talking about is the moisture in the corn.

The higher moisture corn means more work to get it down to the same moisture of the other corn. “So, there’s going to be a 10 spread (in the moisture) in the harvest, and we’re going to have to handle that with the dryers,” Hoelscher says.

Drying the corn adds an extra cost for the gas used in the process.