The Ottumwa Courier

August 26, 2013

Crops decline as heat rises

Courier Staff Writer

DES MOINES — Southern Iowa was left out of the rainfall last week, and it shows in the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

The report shows southeast Iowa was the only part of the state with a full seven days suitable for fieldwork last week. That means no rainfall, compared to significant amounts in northern parts of the state.

State Climatologist Harry Hillaker said the highest amounts were over an inch, but that was in a narrow band in the northern third of the state. Three cities, Burlington, Mount Pleasant and Keokuk, have yet to receive rain this month.

This has been a dry summer and the only saving grace has been the temperatures. Summer has not been hot, but that changed. Temperatures statewide averaged three degrees above normal last week. Temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90s are expected to last through this week.

More than half of the topsoil in southeast Iowa now rates as very short of moisture, and over 90 percent is now short or very short. Subsoil moisture is slightly better, with 86 percent short or very short.

The lack of rain is having an impact on corn and soybeans. Conditions for both declined last week, though most of the crop is still considered fair or better.