Corn producers in Iowa have faced several challenges this year – including heavy rains during planting season, Missouri River flooding, wind storms and, most recently, extreme heat. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says it appears most of the state’s corn crop has prospered.
“When you look at the crop in total, it’s pretty good,” Northey said. “Certainly, our numbers are good in comparison to other states that, in many cases, have even more problems than what we have. At least we got our crop planted in time. Some of those other states were so much later that, when you have inclement weather then after that, that just really put the burden on those crops.”
The U.S.D.A.’s crop report released this week rated Iowa’s corn at 80% good to excellent. Last week’s extended run of days with temperatures in the upper 90s came at the same time corn was pollinating. Northey says it’s not good for corn at that stage to take on that kind of heat, but there was relief in the form of humidity.
“It made it miserable for people and animals, but for the crop, that humidity kept those silks from drying out,” Northey said. “So, we probably got along O.K.” Much of Iowa’s corn crop was placed in the soil about two weeks later than usual because of the wet spring.
Northey says the crop is now close to “normal maturity” so there’s less of risk of damage in the fall from frost. He says other states are at a greater risk because their crop was planted much later.