Over the last two weeks we’ve had extreme heat while rainfall continues to be way below normal. The map above shows percent of normal rainfall over the past 60 days from the National weather service. Essentially all of Iowa received only 10% to 50% of normal rainfall. That’s as much as 8 inches below average in some places. This is on top of a drier than average trend staring last summer. We typically don’t see high temperatures in the 90’s multiple days in the first half of June. It feels more like July or early August weather lately. The good news, the two week outlook shows a cooler and wetter trend. We sure hope that is right this time.
Corn in this area looks surprisingly heathy so far, most is showing some minor leaf rolling during the heat of the day (a natural defense to conserve water). The drought stressed corn in the picture above is not representative of most corn in NW Iowa at this point. The picture is an area with sandy soil, it’s showing harsher symptoms like tight leaf rolling all day, gray cast leaves, and leaf wilting. I’m afraid most corn is approaching this point of severe stress, but a significant widespread rain in the next week or so would prevent this. I have never seen a yield impacting drought in the first half of June, but it is possible this year. I don’t believe significant yield losses has already occurred yet. If the weather improves, average yields or better are still possible.
Soybeans would also benefit greatly from rainfall and more moderate temperatures. It’s way too early to say the beans have taken a significant yield hit. This time of year is all about building capacity to make pods/beans in August. The early stress may result in shorter plant heights, but not necessarily fewer pods in the end.
The grain markets worked lower this week based on an improved weather outlook. The forecasted rains are important news but still “forecasted” so we will see what happens. The most important time period for corn is in July and August for soybeans. I don’t have much faith in forecasts past about 10 days, so the uncertainty and volatility will continue.