* Rains could limit yield loss in corn
* Soy fields vibrant after showers
By Karl Plume
TRAER, Iowa, July 26 Corn yield prospects in
central and east-central Iowa were highly variable as drought
and periods of extreme heat this summer diminished production
potential, scouts on a crop tour said Thursday.
Plants were tall and mostly green, although leaves on some
plants were turning brown as the worst U.S. Midwest drought in
five decades expanded from harder hit states such as Illinois
and Indiana, scouts on the MDA EarthSat July Crop Tour observed.
Some ears appear to have pollinated with little stress,
which scouts said was likely aided by early planting. But
kernels on others were sparse, not filling all the way to the
end of the cob or not completely around, which was likely caused
by heat and moisture stress at pollination.
Ears were also beginning to abort kernels at the tip due to
a lack of moisture.
Fields surveyed in the No. 1 corn and soybean growing state
of Iowa on Thursday morning received some rain -- enough to
dampen soils but not enough to create puddles -- but more rain
would help stop the yield loss, scouts said.
Johnson, Linn and Benton counties had, before Wednesday
night's rain, received less than 50 percent of their normal
rainfall since June 1.
Three fields surveyed in the counties averaged about 125
bushels per acre, down 27 percent from a yield of about 169 bpa
Soy fields in Iowa got rain overnight, although totals were
lighter than expected and plants needed more. Still, the soybean
plants were vibrant after the rain and temperatures cooled into
the low 80s degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). Flowers
seem to have popped up overnight and soils in fields were wet
but not muddy.
The tour stops in Fort Dodge, in the western part of the
state, later on Thursday before concluding on Friday in Omaha,
(Reporting by Karl Plume; editing by Jim Marshall)