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Hit-or-miss corn crop

  • The effect

    The effect of the drought in north-central Iowa appeared to be hit-or-miss in its severity, I noticed on a recent drive across the backroads of Wright County. Here, corn stands roughly eight feet tall, with some curling of the leaves. This would prove to be one of the most healthy-looking stands of the day.

  • Ear development

    Here's a close up of the ear development and leaf curling in the same stand.

  • Severe

    Driving north through the county, which USDA's U.S. Drought Monitor currently shows as "Severe," fields of mostly green stalks were occasionally tinged with brown.

  • Variance

    From above, you can see the variance in the same field. Roughy thirty feet away, corn is two-feet taller with a deeper green color.

  • Soil

    From below, the soil is as dry as powder, and leaves have all but dried up.

  • Thigh-high

    In a field nearby, the parched corn stood only thigh-high.

  • Cracked soil

    The soil in that same field was so dry, the ground was cracked about everywhere I looked.

  • Soybeans

    Surrounded by a field of healthy-looking soybeans, this patch of yellow shows that crop's need for rain, too. One local farmer explained that many in the area grow corn-on-corn, so their success depends only on this year's corn crop.

  • Crop duster

    But it wasn't all doom and gloom out on the road. I stopped and watched this plane dust a corn field for a few minutes and was reminded that despite the circumstances, grace and beauty can always be found on the backroads.

Drought severity hit or miss in north central Iowa.

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