The table was set for an ample harvest. I wrote in The Integrated Crop Management Newsletter on July 28, "Crops continue in generally good to excellent condition in most areas, with the exception of some pastures and hay fields in southern Iowa." And then August came.
The accompanying map shows Iowa rainfall data averaged by crop reporting district. Although summer rainfall is by nature spotty, the data here give an idea of regional effects. The top number represents the season rainfall situation as of the end of July. The only real concern areas then were Southwest Iowa and East Central Iowa. In fact, seasonal rainfall was slightly above normal in the northwest quarter of the state. The second number is the rainfall deficit for August alone. Although all of Iowa was far below normal in August, crops in those areas that entered the month with ample moisture still fared fairly well, but already drought-stressed areas took a huge yield hit.
Top number: rainfall deficit from normal, January 1 through July 31.
Middle number: rainfall deficit in August 2003.
Bottom number: total rainfall deficit, January through August.
This article originally appeared on page 168 of the IC-490(22) -- October 6, 2003 issue.