Iowa Crops In Good Condition With More Than Enough Rain Into Mid-June

Last week's record precipitation led to some soil erosion and field drainage problems, but state's corn and soybean crops on the whole look good so far.

Published on: Jun 16, 2010

Crop conditions in mid-June look very good in Iowa for the state as a whole. Corn is rated 76% good to excellent, and soybeans are 75% good to excellent. That's according to the weekly Iowa Crops and Weather Report released June 14 by the Iowa office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines.

A week of heavy rainfall in much of Iowa has encouraged weed growth and discouraged farmers from getting out into fields. There are some farmers, especially in southeast and south central Iowa with fields left to plant who are wondering if and when they'll be able to get in and complete the planting. There are also fields where tillage was done this spring that are now facing soil erosion concerns as a result of all this rain.

Fields generally need a chance for the rains to quit and for the fields to dry out. Showers have occurred at least once a day almost every day for the past week to two weeks in central and southern Iowa. Farmers are reporting yellow corn in some parts of the state due to the continued rainfall, while other farmers in other areas say their corn is dark green. Soybeans are emerging, but the main concern of farmers is weeds. Drier weather is needed before farmers will be able to get back out into the fields and spray.

Last week was Iowa's wettest week in 2 years, says state climatologist

Rain was the name of the game last week as precipitation was present in every part of the state of Iowa. Rainfall amounts ranged from 0.66 inches at Lansing in northeast Iowa to 7.34 inches at Little Sioux in western Iowa. "The statewide precipitation average was 3.22 inches, or nearly three times the weekly normal of 1.09 inches for the week ending June 13," says Harry Hillaker, state climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture. "Last week was Iowa's wettest week in two years." 

Farmers are hoping for drier weather in the forecast. The persistent and heavy rains are a real concern statewide, but especially in south central and southeast Iowa where it has been wetter than normal all spring. Hopefully Iowa will miss some of the moisture in the forecast this week so fields can dry out and allow farmers to get in. Farmers will be replanting when necessary or finishing up their spraying for weeds.

With all the rain during first half of June, nitrogen loss is a concern

"There are now a lot of concerns across Iowa due to the wet soil conditions and the impact that may be having on nitrogen management and nitrogen remaining from fertilizer or manure applications for their crop," says John Sawyer, ISU Extension soil fertility specialist. "Unfortunately much of southern Iowa—basically the southern third of the state--has had much above normal precipitation for the first half of June and this is causing problems for corn growth and for nitrogen loss."

Information regarding how to estimate and handle nitrogen loss can be found on the agronomy department's website at

The complete version of the USDA weekly weather and crop survey is available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture site at or on USDA's site at Following is a summary of the report released June 15.

Erosion is a concern in many fields, as drier weather would be welcome

Extreme doses of rain this past week caused erosion concerns especially on tilled fields throughout the state, according to the weekly USDA survey. Farmers who have yet to plant or are in the process of replanting were setback another week as there were only 1.8 days suitable for fieldwork last week, compared to 3.9 days the week before. Both southeast and south central Iowa reported less than 1 day suitable.

Farmers who have a hay crop in the field are concerned as the rain continues to fall on their first cutting; as the rain falls they are unable to get the hay baled. Standing water and large amounts of rain are making pastures soggy, "but continue to provide adequate grazing for livestock," according to the report. Iowa topsoil moisture is rated 0% very short, 0% short, 51% adequate and 49% surplus. Subsoil moisture is rated 0% very short, 1% short, 57% adequate and 42% surplus.

Field Crops Report: The report released June 15 shows Iowa corn acreage in mostly good to excellent condition. Corn acreage emerged was 2% very poor, 4% poor, 18% fair, 54% good, and 22% excellent.

Soybean acreage planted was 97% complete in Iowa as of June 15, the same as last year's average and the 5-year average. Soybean acreage emerged was 92% as of June 15, a 2% increase over last year's average and 3% higher than the 5-year pace. Emerged soybeans are 1% very poor, 4% poor, 20% fair, 57% good and 18% excellent.

As of June 15, 55% of Iowa's oat acres have headed, up from last year's average of 28% and a 5-year average of 39%. Oat condition rates 1% very poor, 5% poor, 17% fair, 61% good and 16% excellent. And 68% of the first cutting of alfalfa has now been harvested. The 68% is higher than last year's 52% figure and the 5-year average of 59%. Hay condition is 2% very poor, 6% poor, 24% fair, 54% good and 14% excellent.

Livestock and Pasture: Pasture and range condition for Iowa is currently rated 1% very poor, 3% poor, 15% fair, 60% good and 21% excellent. Last week's mild temperatures were good for livestock. There have been some reported concerns for livestock housed outside in pastures near bodies of water.