Crops near Sutherland. A recent USDA NASS report showed 58% of the state's soybean crops were blooming; 35% of the state's corn crops were silking as of July 12. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Iowa crops making progress despite varying precipitation

July 16, 2020 | Bethany Baratta

Despite moisture differences between areas of the state, the state’s soybean crop remains well ahead of last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS) says 58% of the state’s soybean crop was blooming as of July 12, 2 weeks ahead of last year and 6 days ahead of average. Soybeans setting pods reached 10%, 2 weeks ahead of last year and 2 days ahead of average. Soybean condition rated 83% good to excellent, according to USDA NASS report.

Corn silking or beyond reached 35%, 8 days ahead of the previous year and 2 days ahead of the 5-year average. There were scattered reports in the state of corn reaching the dough stage. Corn condition rated 83% good to excellent, according to USDA.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 5% very short, 22% short, 70% adequate and 3% surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 3% very short, 17% short, 78% adequate and 2% surplus.

Here’s what farmers around the state are seeing:

Tim Bardole, Rippey, ISA District 4: We’re dry here. Everything is still alive, but we’ve only received 2 inches of rain since we’ve planted. Pods are setting on some soybean plants and some tops are blooming yet, but there isn’t much out there right now. Hopefully we get some moisture and that changes. Corn is pollinating, and we’re not seeing any disease or other problems at this instant.

Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmersburg, ISA District 3: Soybeans look beautiful. They are in the R2, flowering stage. Early-planted corn is just starting to tassel. Storms within the past week brought 4 inches of rain and strong winds, which snapped power poles and pushed some corn stands over. A lot of the corn has bounced back, but we are also seeing some corn rootworm feeding. If that continues, corn won’t come back up completely. We are also seeing gray leaf spot on corn and hearing reports of some northern corn leaf blight in the area.

Bill Shipley, Nodaway, ISA District 7: We got our million—maybe billion—dollar rain on Tuesday. We were starting to dry up and crops were showing some stress before that. Soybeans are flowering and shorter compared to other years, but soybeans don’t have to be tall to yield well. If our sweet corn continues to be an indication of the success of our field corn, we’ll see some nice ears, but perhaps smaller. Corn is just starting to tassel; we’ll see how well the corn pollinates in the forecasted hot weather.

Jim Fitkin, Cedar Falls, ISA District 3: It’s been too dry, but then we got 4 inches of rain last week. Soybeans are pretty well canopied over and are looking good. Recent strong winds blew some corn over. It appears to be recovering, but we could see some goosenecked corn this fall. Corn started tasseling this week, and it’s supposed to be extremely hot this weekend in the middle of pollination.

Val Plagge, Latimer, ISA District 2: Soybeans are flowering and corn has started to tassel this week. Crops are looking nice, but we need the rain; the big rains have been missing us. We are wrapping up spraying and starting fungicide application here soon. We completed our second cutting of hay recently.

Brent Swart, Spencer, ISA District 1: Soybeans are at the R3 stage right now, and there are a lot of fungicide applications starting to take place in the area. Corn is at the VT/R1 stage. We haven’t seen much for soybean aphids, but some farmers are seeing leafhoppers on soybeans. We are seeing corn rootworm feeding and expect to see higher levels of that as pupation continues to the beetle stage. I expect that plants will be put under moisture stress real soon if we don’t get some rain.

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