Corn in most of Iowa will be far short of "knee-high by the 4th of July." Modern varieties of corn usually reach far beyond knee height by this time in the growing season, but this year’s soppy weather means some corn is barely ankle high.
Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey’s been on the road, inspecting the crop. "It varies a lot as you go around the state, in fact I’ve heard somebody refer to it as, ‘We have corn from six inches to six feet tall,’" Northey says. "There are a few places that we’ve got corn that is as tall as it should be this time of year, but we’ve also got a lot of places where it is much behind normal."
Northey is a farmer from Spirit Lake and he says corn fields in his home area are a little bit behind because of the cool weather. "We didn’t get near as much drowned out as in some other areas, so our corn stand looks pretty good. It’s green and it’s growing and it’s healthy," Northey says, "but it does certainly need a full summer to get caught up."
The northwest quadrant of Iowa has some of the "most consistent looking" corn fields in the state, according to Northey. "You get to other areas of the state, though — I’ve been to southwest Iowa and southeast Iowa, especially on rolling hills where there’s been just a little more drainage and the water hasn’t sat in the soil — you can see crops there that are five or six feet tall that look very, very good," Northey says. "So in almost all areas of the state there is some poor looking corn and some good looking corn."
Aside from the field corn that’s grown in most Iowa fields, sweet corn growers are having a difficult season as well. The sweet corn being sold today in Iowa is from fields far south of Iowa. Most of Iowa’s sweet corn fields won’t be ready for harvest for another couple of weeks.