How are Iowa’s corn and alfalfa crops faring in hot and dry conditions?
Iowa corn growers are reporting signs of corn lodging due to extreme heat and dry weather conditions in the region. However, despite the difficult weather conditions, alfalfa crops are gaining quality points.
Extreme temperatures coupled with a lack of rain are causing some concerns for the U.S. corn crop. On the other hand, alfalfa crops seem to be thriving despite the tough weather conditions.
According to an Iowa State University Extension agronomist, corn lodging is popping up across the northwest portion of the state. Lodging occurs when the plant is unable to anchor itself— an issue that usually occurs in lighter soils or in crops impacted by disease or hail.
The agronomist recommends doing a push test when scouting, pushing down on about 20 plants in each field just above the ear. If 10 percent or more of the stalks kink or break, then the field should be a harvest priority.
The alfalfa crop seems to be thriving despite the hot and dry conditions. Most growers have been able to make four cuttings and forage supplies appear to be in good shape. The National Alfalfa and Forage Alliance says the good quality points to newer and improved varieties, and fields that have better water-holding capacity. It is also attributed to farmers on better fertility and management practices overall.