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Iowa soybean conditions improve despite warm, dry week

by Jared Strong

Last week was very dry in Iowa, with the northwest quadrant of the state having little or no rain, according to the state’s weekly weather summary.

Yet, soybean conditions improved and corn was unchanged from a week ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Tuesday. Corn and soybeans were both rated 66% good or excellent in that report, a 3-percentage-point increase for beans.

The state averaged about a quarter inch of rain, which is less than a third of what is normally expected. The heaviest rainfall last week was in an area that is already sufficiently wet: More than 2 inches fell in far eastern Iowa.

The state also averaged about 1.4 degrees above normal temperatures. The trend of higher temperatures and lower rainfall amounts is expected to continue this fall.

“The seasonal outlooks for September-October-November show a warmer and drier-than-normal signature,” State Climatologist Justin Glisan said. “Not good for drought conditions but helpful when it comes to natural dry-down of crops in the field.”

The state as a whole is the driest it has been all year, according to a recent U.S. Drought Monitor report. An updated report that takes the arid past week into consideration is due Thursday.

Map of Iowa drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

While the anticipated fall weather might be helpful for drying crops for storage, it also poses risk: “We need to remain vigilant for potential fire hazards as combines start to roll,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said.

Southeast Iowa currently has the driest soil, the USDA report said. Less than 20% of topsoil and subsoil in that region have adequate moisture for crops. In northeast Iowa, more than 85% of soil has adequate or surplus moisture.

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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