The latest U.S.D.A. report on growing conditions in Iowa shows crops are “under stress.” The U.S.D.A. rates the crops in Iowa soybean and corn fields in mostly good or excellent condition, but a lack of rainfall and consistently warmer temperatures mean the soil is very dry in many areas.
In south central Iowa, 97% of the topsoil is short or very short of moisture according to the U.S.D.A. For the third consecutive week the analysis shows a slight decline in the condition of Iowa’s corn crop. Over a third of the state’s corn fields now are rated very poor, poor or just fair.
The dry conditions are creating problems for livestock producers, too, as less than half of Iowa’s pastures are considered in good or excellent condition for grazing. The state climatologist calculates last week’s warmer temperatures caused up to 20% more evaporation than is normal in Iowa fields, another reason fields are dry and getting drier.