The Ottumwa Courier

August 19, 2013

Crops decline as drought continues

Courier staff writer

DES MOINES — The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls the continuing dry weather in Iowa “a growing concern” for the state.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said “most of the state is still waiting for substantial rain,” as storms passed Iowa by again.

Much of Iowa slipped back into drought in recent weeks as persistently dry conditions finally overcame a surplus of spring rains. Statewide, topsoil rated 25 percent very short and 40 percent short. Subsoil moisture is doing just a bit better, with 19 percent very short and 40 percent short.

Southeast Iowa continues to be the driest part of the state. Seventy-eight percent of topsoil is short or very short on moisture, along with 66 percent of the subsoil.

The dropping moisture levels are having an impact on crops. Both corn and soybeans showed declines in condition, while hay and pasture conditions also fell.

Centerville and Bloomfield both hit 88 degrees last week, the highest temperature in the state. Hotter weather is expected this week.