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Local

Despite southeast Iowa drought, Crops in Jasper County ‘relatively’ on schedule

Corn stocks along South 44th Avenue East in Newton are growing on schedule, according to local officials.
Corn stocks along South 44th Avenue East in Newton are growing on schedule, according to local officials.

Aside from a few minor flooding events in Jasper County, corn and soybeans are developing relatively on schedule.

According to statistics from the Iowa Department of Agriculture, statewide topsoil moisture levels as of Aug. 9 rated at 61 percent adequate and subsoil moisture levels rated at 65 percent adequate.

Fifty-five percent of corn crop reached the dough stage or beyond, and was at 75 percent good to excellent. Ninety-four percent of soybean crop was blooming, a week ahead of the pace last year. Eighty-two percent of the oat crop has already been harvested.

Alfalfa cutting, for the third time, was 30 percent complete, three days behind last year’s pace.

According to Katie Kramer, Jasper County Executive Director of USDA, the South Skunk River flooding near US Highway 14 South damaged some on crops in June but drought seen in the southeast has not affected central Iowa soil moisture.

“You’re going to see definite areas of grass and weeds growing where the water was, or brown stalks of corn,” Kramer said. “Other than the flooding that has taken place, everything else is looking very good.”

In addition, Heartland Co-op at 3785 Hwy 14 North in Newton, has had a fairly profitable year when it comes to the crops it processes. However, according to co-op manager Phil Foertsch, prices seem to be lower at the moment, making it tougher to afford the necessary machinery.

“The biggest thing right now are the prices are low, and that’s not where the farmers want to see them, obviously,” Foertsch said. “They need higher prices to make ends meet.”

Monday afternoon, the statewide average price for corn is $3.24 as of Aug. 17, a minus — $1 change. Soybeans average out at $8.06, a $4 increase. As far as the growth of the crops in the Newton area, Foertsch said everything is looking good.

“Condition wise, in the local area, it’s probably as good as any year, and our crop condition is excellent right now,” Foertsch said. “Luckily, we haven’t had any hail wind or early frost, knock on wood.”

Other areas in Iowa haven’t been as lucky in 2018. The drought in the southeast part of the state has complicated crop production.

“They have the worst conditions, in southeast Iowa,” Foertsch said. “Farther north on Interstate 35, they’ve had excessive rain ... and wound up flooding, but their crops are still looking all right.”

Contact Orrin Shawl at 641-792-3121 Ext 6533 or at oshawl@newtondailynews.com

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