Iowa corn-growers may be keeping a closer eye on the weather the next couple of weeks. Nearly 60 percent of the state is considered abnormally dry or in moderate drought. More consistent rainfall would help corn pollination and kernel development over the next few weeks.
“It would be nice for all those droughty areas to get, basically, an inch of rain per week in the next two weeks, three weeks’ time frame,” said Iowa State Extension cropping systems specialist Mark Licht. “But then as we look at the middle or end of the grain fill period, it would still be nice to have some precipitation coming through.”
The driest area of the state is a band of counties stretching from far northwest to far southeast Iowa.
Licht says cooler nighttime temperatures would be helpful, too. Some overnight lows last week remained at or above 80 degrees in parts of central and southern Iowa.
“Whenever we have high nighttime temperatures, that crop has to use sugars or carbohydrates that are generated during the day for energy in the evening hours,” he said on IPR’s River to River Friday. “Then that energy is no longer available for that grain fill period.”
As of last week, about 70-percent of the state’s corn crop was rated good-to-excellent.