Agronomist: Despite rain, area crops thriving

The soaking rains that have hampered some Marshall County farm fields coupled with cooler, dryer conditions this week, may in turn be a good thing for area corn and soybean producers.

Mark Johnson, a field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension, said there’s no doubt the heavy rains and storms in June have damaged some crops. But he told the Times-Republican this week that Marshall County and Central Iowa farmers will still see some positive yields.

“Actually, it looks pretty darn good, especially the corn,” he said, despite the fact that last month was the third wettest June in Iowa history.

Johnson said while local farmers shouldn’t expect record yields in 2014, overall, this part of the state may still see “good results.”

One reason for Johnson’s optimism is that insects haven’t had the same impact on crops this year compared to other years.

Corn rootworm, for example, has been impacted by the saturating rains, essentially “suffocating” the larvae.

“We should be seeing a lot of [the adult beetles] right now, but we’re not,” Johnson said.

And with a forecast calling for milder, dryer conditions this week, the agronomist said that fungal diseases that sometimes attack corn and soybeans cannot spread.

“The dry conditions are not conducive for that,” Johnson said.

The National Weather Service predicts temperatures now through Friday to hover around the low- to mid-70s with lows in the low- to mid-50s.