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70% of Iowa Abnormally Dry


The latest USDA drought monitor map shows that 70 percent of Iowa is abnormally dry. That includes all of Des Moines, Henry and Lee counties.

Virgil Schmitt, Iowa State University Extension field Agronomist for South East Iowa, said that for the most part crops in good quality soils are not experiencing drought stress.

"If we have some areas where there are some severe compaction issues, or some areas where the soil  is a little coarser textured, then we are seeing some drought stress," Schmitt said.

He added that higher humidity and lower temperatures have lower plants' demand for water which has helped crops deal with lower rainfall.

Though, Schmitt cautioned, even the crops in good soil will begin to need water in the coming weeks.

The Northeastern corner of Iowa is the only section of the state not considered abnormally dry. Schmitt said that the hardest hit area so far is Iowa's Northwest corner.

Western Illinois is the only portion of the state to considered  abnormally dry, with the USDA drought monitor classifying 10 percent of the state as abnormally dry.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.