The latest U.S.D.A. report finds about half of Iowa’s corn crop in poor to very poor shape with more than one-third of the state’s soybeans in the same struggling condition. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is in the midst of a tour of southeast Iowa and says most of the crops, and many of the farmers, are stressed from the drought.
“The estimate that we could get 117-bushels per acre, which would be about a 30% reduction, tends to be pretty optimistic,” Grassley says. “I would be very surprised if we end up with 117-bushels per acre.”
Grassley owns 750 acres of farmland in Grundy County near New Hartford which he shares with one of his sons. He says that estimate of 117-bushels per acre was very generous.
“On my farm, we won’t end up with that much,” Grassley says. “I’ve seen some good corn where they’ve been lucky enough to get rain in isolated areas but it’s not going to be a very good year for farmers.” Some farmers in parts of central and southern Iowa are chopping their corn into silage for cattle feed or in extreme cases, they’ve started fall tillage, completely plowing under what had promised to be millions of dollars.
Some growers saw rainshowers over the weekend and Grassley says it may be enough to revive or sustain crops for a few more days. Grassley says, “It’ll be a year where if they can hold everything together, and if they have crop insurance, they’ll probably be able to do that, but they’ll basically be working for nothing this year in most parts of the state.”
Grassley spoke with reporters this morning from Muscatine. He’s hosting several town meetings this week in communities including: Columbus Junction, Burlington, Bloomfield and Mount Pleasant.
The U.S.D.A.’s weekly crop report was issued Monday. It found Iowa’s corn crop is maturing about two-weeks ahead of the five-year average. Soybeans, also ahead of normal for this time in the growing season, are in the critical pod-setting stage on about 77% of the state’s soybean acreage.
The hay crop is a month ahead of the five-year average for this time of the year, with about 80% of the third-cutting of alfalfa already harvested.