* Corn yields seen 26 percent lower in west-central Iowa
* Soy better in Iowa than in Illinois and Indiana
By Karl Plume
SCRANTON, Iowa, July 27 Corn yield potential
appears highly variable in west-central Iowa, mirroring the ups
and downs of production prospects in the central and eastern
areas of the No. 1 corn and soy growing state, scouts on a U.S.
Midwest crop tour said Friday.
Some plants suffering under the worst drought in 56 years
were withered and dying, standing only 4 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5
m)tall with thin stalks and small ears.
Others, though mostly green, were visibly stressed by heat
and drought. Many cobs were well pollinated but have been
aborting kernels from the tip, a sign of heat and moisture
Corn yields on the final day of the MDA EarthSat crop tour
were projected at 136.5 bushels per acre in four fields surveyed
in Webster, Greene, Carroll and Crawford counties, down from 184
bpa last year, a decline of about 26 percent.
West-central Iowa has received about 75 percent or less of
its normal rainfall since June 1. A storm on Wednesday night
brought only light precipitation.
The region also baked under triple-digit heat in recent
weeks. As a result, corn that was planted early was severely
stressed shortly after pollinating, and later-planted grain did
not pollinate effectively.
The entire state was in severe drought or worse, according
to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor issued by climatologists.
More than a quarter of Iowa, in east-central and far southeast
areas, was under extreme drought, the first time since January
2006 that any part of the state was in that category.
Soybean plants had many flowers and the top soil was wet
after recent rains, but the crop needs more showers as the
plants start to form pods, the scouts found.
The tour, which ends on Friday in Omaha, does not project
soy yields. Soy crops in Iowa appeared in better condition than
those scouted earlier this week in Illinois and Indiana, tour
(Reporting by Karl Plume; editing by Jim Marshall)