What happened to the rain?
Jun 25, 2009
Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.
I was thinking…
... about the rain that didn't fall!
I'm not saying the entire Corn Belt missed yesterday's rains... but as we watched another line of storms make its way across Iowa yesterday, the front line of the front broke up and we got only a few raindrops on the windshield. That was (thankfully) it. I know... it seems strange to be "turning away" rain at this time of the year... and you've got to be careful what you ask for when you're asking for conditions to dry out (a bit). But there's hay to make... and weeds to spray... and yellow spots in corn fields that need a break from saturated soils before they'll green-up and "grow right."
And I'm not saying the Iowa corn crop is suffering. There are spots where the crop looks a bit rough, but at least it's developing at a quick pace and is well ahead of development in the eastern Corn Belt. I asked the question earlier this week, "When does the heat become too much of a good thing?" A cattle feeder was quick to respond that it was already too much if you had a load of fancy black steers headed to market -- which is completely understandable. But even as weather-warning maps lit up with heat advisory warnings yesterday across Iowa, temps didn't get as hot as predicted... and it was a really good day for the crops.
That wasn't the case in Illinois and Indiana. It got hot... low to mid-90s with high humidity made it feel like 100-plus. With the amount of water available to the corn and soybean crops in the eastern Belt, I'm not too worried about stress to the crops... but if it's going to stay this hot for a while, regular and timely rains will be needed to keep the shallow-rooted crop from stressing out. Like I said... not a big worry yet, just something to keep an eye on.
And it looks like there's a break from the heat coming in July. Yesterday's National Weather Service 6- to 10-day forecast and 8- to 14-day forecast features normal to below-normal temps across the Corn Belt. And while the shorter of the two long-term outlooks also features normal to below-normal rains, the longer of the two outlooks calls for above-normal rains across most of the Corn Belt.
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