It was hot and dry the first full week of July according to the Iowa Crop Progress Report. Forty percent of the topsoil moisture level is now rated short to very short in Iowa, that's a jump of 13 percent from last week.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says it's getting dryer across most of the state. with the main focus on the southeastern part of the state. Southeast and south central Iowa have about 80 percent short to very short topsoil moisture rating, those are also areas of moderate drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Hillaker says, "That area's probably going to be expanding with the new drought monitor comes out later this week because most of that area's still been quite dry this last week. And unfortunately the weather outlook doesn't look very favorable either. Basically has Iowa and really much of the Midwest, especially the western edges of the corn belt on the warmer and drier side of normal."
Hillaker adds weather-wise, this year is virtually identical to last year, which had a warmer and drier June. Last year, temperatures cooled down and timely rains popped up about the second week of July.
On the crop conditions side of the report, 7 percent of Iowa's corn crop has reached the that stage, six days behind the five-year average. And as corn begins pollination, many reporters say rain will be needed in the next few weeks. Seventy-seven percent of the corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition, down a percent from last week.
A third of the state's soybean crop is now blooming, with five percent already setting pods about three days ahead of the average. Soybean conditions are 67 percent good or excellent, down five percent from last week.