Iowa corn and soybeans may finally get much-needed rainfall
Iowa may finally get a little relief in the way of rainfall this weekend after seeing little or no precipitation for the past month.
“(Weather) models are converging and finally bringing some relief” to the state, says Joel Widenor, a meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group. “How much good it does at this point is another question.”
The state, the biggest corn producer and second-largest soybean grower, has seen scant rainfall in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service.
Conditions in Iowa have worsened in the past week with almost 15% of the state now in an extreme drought and about 22% seeing severe drought conditions.
In an extreme drought, the second-worse classification on the monitor, major crop and pasture losses and widespread water shortages are imminent.
The entire state other than a sliver in the north is suffering from some sort of drought or abnormally dry conditions, Drought Monitor data show.
Rain is in the forecast for Iowa for about the next week to 10 days, then forecasts call for a return to dry weather, Widenor said. In the 11- to 15-day outlook, he expects “a few showers here and there but nothing too expansive.”
The U.S. corn crop was rated 62% good or excellent at the start of this week, down from 64% a week earlier, the Department of Agriculture said in a report. Twelve percent was mature as of Aug. 30 and 63% was dented.
About 66% of soybeans earned top ratings, down from 69% seven days earlier, the USDA said. Eight percent of plants were dropping leaves and 95% were setting pods.
In Iowa, 45% or the corn crop earned top ratings while half of soybeans were in good or excellent condition, the agency said. That compares with its neighbor Illinois, where 70% of corn and 72% of soybeans were rated good or excellent.
Don Keeney, an agricultural meteorologist with Maxar, said in a report that he also sees rain in parts of Iowa later in the weekend, which should improve moisture in west-central parts of the Corn Belt.
Dry weather in the southern Midwest likely will help corn dry down, he said.
In the Delta, “abundant rains in northern areas through Thursday will increase wetness, while drier weather in southern areas allows wetness to ease,” Keeney said.
In the Canadian Prairies, meanwhile, recent rainfall and some precipitation over the weekend likely will slow fieldwork, he said.
Widenor said a recent topic of discussion was the potential for an early freeze in the northern Plains. Cold weather – at least temperatures below freezing – likely will stay north of the U.S.-Canada border for a while longer.
“There was some guidance about a more aggressive freeze line (down into) Minnesota, but it looks like that backed off this morning,” he said. “At this stage there will be some areas right along the Canadian border that will get to the freezing mark, otherwise (the freezing weather) should stay above the U.S. side of the border.”