Is it the bark, or is it the bite?

The dog days of summer are here, and Iowa crops cover the gamut, ranging from excellent and happily barking, to awful. Farmers in southeast and east-central Iowa have been bitten, with seasonal moisture running more than 3 inches behind normal (see map below).

We are at a point where degree days are not as important for crop development as total plant stress.

We are just seeing the first signs of early crop death from several sources. Sudden death syndrome of soybean, soybean cyst nematode damage, and other diseases that interfere with plant vascular tissue can shut the system down early.

As harvest approaches, take a little time to document what happened where and when in crop fields, so that information can add to next year's management portfolio.

Degree days May 1 through August 21, 2005
Accumulated Base: 50° F Degree Days May 1 through August 21, 2005. Top: Accumulated degree days. Bottom: (departure from average).
Moisture Deficit Map, May 1 to August 15, 2005
Moisture deficit by district, May 1 to August 15, 2005.

This article originally appeared on page 174 of the IC-494(22) -- August 22, 2005 issue.

Updated 08/26/2005 - 12:35pm