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Iowa crop conditions stabilize with widespread rains

By Jared Strong 

Iowa had above-normal statewide rainfall last week for the first time in more than a month, which helped stabilize the conditions of corn and soybean plants, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

An average of 1.12 inches of rain fell across the state, about 23% more than normal, State Climatologist Justin Glisan reported. Some of the heaviest rainfall was in drought-stricken areas of northwest Iowa.

“While showers and thunderstorms brought heavier totals across the drought region, we need several months of above-average precipitation to relieve the most intense drought conditions,” said Mike Naig, the state’s agriculture secretary. “The rain received last week was welcomed as stressed soybeans continue to set and fill pods.”

Monday’s USDA report rated 66% of the state’s corn crop as good or excellent, a figure that was unchanged from last week. The report said 62% of soybeans were rated good or excellent, a decline of 1 percentage point.

The relative steadiness of those conditions is a significant turnaround from last week’s report, when the percentages dropped 7 and 8 points for corn and beans, respectively.

Drought conditions have worsened significantly in Iowa in recent weeks, especially in the southern half of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Its latest report from last week shows areas of extreme drought in northwest Iowa and widespread severe drought in southern Iowa, but the map doesn’t reflect some of the recent heavy rains. A new report is expected Thursday.

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of the States Newsroom, a network of similar news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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