Courier Staff Writer
DES MOINES — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is pointing to hot temperatures as the culprit behind late summer crops stress.
Only 5 percent of Iowa's corn crop is mature, according to the weekly crop condition report. That's well behind normal, due largely to this spring's late planting. But while the problem then was rain, the problem now is drought. The state climatologist's summary in the report said no measurable rain fell in the eastern two-thirds of the state last week.
Parts of southeast Iowa, including Ottumwa, have gone more than a month without measurable rainfall. Drought has surged statewide. That's hurts corn and soybeans.
Corn conditions declined in the past week, as did soybeans. The largest segment of the corn crop, 37 percent rates as fair. But 28 percent rates as poor or very poor.
A similar picture emerges for soybeans, where an identical 37 percent rates fair. Almost a third of the crop, 30 percent, rates as poor or very poor.
Topsoil conditions are terrible. The USDA rates 70 percent of southeast Iowa topsoil as very short of moisture and nearly all of the rest as short. A scant 1 percent has adequate moisture.
Subsoil levels are barely any better. Fifty-seven percent rates as very short of moisture and another 37 percent is short. Only 6 percent has adequate moisture.
The next report from the U.S. Drought Monitor is due Thursday.