Iowa’s corn crops are at critical stage, still need more rain

AMES — Forecasters say it’ll likely be dry much of this week, but last week’s heavy thunderstorms brought some areas of the state four and even five inches of rainfall. Still, overall precipitation is still well below normal in northern Iowa.

Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Joel DeJong says with corn is getting into the pollination phase and more rain would be a big help.

“Four or five inches below normal right now, yet, even after some pretty good rain since the first of July,” DeJong says. “Our timing was about perfect for the rainfall because we’re not quite at 50% silked at this stage but we’re starting to see a lot more silks on those corn plants and it is that critical time period.”

DeJong says Iowa’s soybean fields will soon be entering a critical phase, too.

“August is much more critical for beans,” DeJong says. “It’s really nice to have some moisture now so we can really try to accelerate some of that growth and development, get those rows closed as fast as we can.”

DeJong says they haven’t seen any real disease issues with the crops but bugs -are- becoming a problem for some growers.

“We’ve had some insect issues, gall midges along the edges of soybean fields,” he says, “and I’m getting several calls about corn kind of lodged, particularly on continuous corn acres that have some rootworm injury. We’re seeing beetle numbers get high in those fields so we need to watch those silks to make sure they’re not getting clipped by beetles and so we can pollinate that corn crop.”

DeJong encourages producers to scout their fields and make sure those kernels get pollinated as this is the critical time for corn.

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