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Growing drought in western Iowa threatens corn yields

Drought conditions have expanded rapidly in western Iowa in July raising concerns for corn and soybean crops.

For the first 23 days of July, precipitation has been variable across the Corn Belt. Most noticeably in the Corn Belt, rainfall has been much below average in western Iowa and into southern Minnesota.

Since the beginning of July, drought conditions have developed rapidly across western Iowa where much of the region is in moderate to severe drought. Drought is concerning for corn and soybean crops, especially as hotter-than-normal temperatures accelerate the use of soil moisture by the crops with no additional precipitation to refuel soils. Under these conditions soybeans can abort pods, corn test weights struggle, and corn yields are lowered. Recently, several counties in west-central Iowa have reported that yields may be affected as the stress on the corn is occurring during the tasseling stage. Livestock can also experience stress under hot and dry conditions.

As we look ahead through the rest of the season, the forecast from Weathertrends360 calls for expanding drought conditions in the Corn Belt. On the bright side, frost and freezes are likely to be much later than typical with no threat to maturing crops.

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