Farmers and market analysts saw history made this past week as drought conditions continue to blister the Corn Belt, sending corn prices above $8 per bushel and soybeans over $17, prices never seen before.
Corn and soybean prices have shot up 40% in the last six weeks as the magnitude of this summer's hot, dry weather has developed into the worst drought in a quarter-century. Although Iowa hasn't been hit as hard as states such as Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, the toll the searing weather is taking on the Iowa crop is becoming more apparent each day.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map released by the National Weather Service on July 19 shows the entire eastern half of Iowa now designated as in "severe drought." The rest of the state is classified as "moderate drought." The forecast for the first five days of the week beginning July 22 is for temperatures to top the 100-degree mark in central and southern Iowa.
Searing heat the last few weeks has significantly reduced Iowa's corn yield
In a July 7 ICM News article, Iowa State University Extension agronomist Roger Elmore addressed two questions about corn yield potential through July 8 using Hybrid-Maize, a crop model. Yield potential through July 2 was not affected at any of the three locations modeled. However, yield potentials fell when the high forecast temperatures with no rain through July 8 were put into the computer model. Last week Elmore ran the computer model again and updated his look at Iowa's corn yield potential.