An Iowa State University extension agronomist says Iowa corn producers need a late run of warm weather to allow the crop to mature. Roger Elmore says corn needs a certain amount of heat to cause it to mature, and so far that’s been lacking.
“Statewide, we’re 12 days behind normal. That means it would take 12 normal heat unit accumulation days to catch up right now,” Elmore says. July was the coldest on record and low temperatures in recent days have fueled talk of an early frost. Elmore says that’s not good if farmers hope to gain back those lost heating days.
He says it’s not going to be possible obviously to catch up unless we have a long growing season and a late frost. Elmore says parts of the state need the extended summer more than others.
“In southwest Iowa we’re about nine days behind normal, and that’s the best part of the state, the worst parts we’re about two weeks, 15 to 16 days behind when you’re talking about the north central or northeast part of the state,” Elmore says.
The average first frost date in Iowa ranges from September 19th in the far northwest corner of the state, to October 22nd in the far southeast.