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Many Crops In Iowa Behind Schedule

JOHNSON COUNTY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Eastern Iowa farmers have been hit with a double dose of bad news this week.

Iowa's agriculture secretary said today the state's corn and soybean crops remain behind schedule.

This on top of the U.S Department of Agriculture Monday saying those same crops in other parts of the country are doing well.

If there's a silver lining in these two reports its that prices for corn and soybeans are expected to hold steady in coming days after a couple of weeks of declining prices, but more and more frequently, farmers say they are indeed concerned.

First it was too much rain, now it's not enough.

In one week 16 percent of the state has moved into moderate drought conditions.

That's prompted U.S Department of Agriculture to lower its estimate of the size of the state's corn and soybean crops.

"Rains from now on is just really going to dictate whether this is an average, good or great crop," said Tiffin farmer, Steve Swenka.

In the corn fields everything is behind schedule this summer, and less than half the overall crop is in good or excellent condition.

The same is happening with soybeans were the plants are well behind the five-year average.

"We need some heat and for it to rain actually coming up so that we can balance that out for some good progress in the fields, said Heather Lilienthal of the Iowa Soybean Association.

A smaller harvest would normally mean higher prices, but farmers are in a bind.

Nationwide corn and soybeans are still on pace to set record levels.

Its just that farmers further east may have larger crops than here in Iowa and Nebraska.

"You can deduce that farmers would make more money but on the other side of the cent they are taking more pressure," said Lilienthal.

Swenka says if the crops don't see significant rain in ten days to two weeks from now, some worry might set in.

"The relatively mild temperatures are naturally buying us some time. If it would turn out really hot, the moisture that these plants are pulling off the ground right now will disappear very quickly," he said.

To put the weather conditions into perspective, five of the last six weeks has had less rainfall than normal, and temperatures statewide are also lower than normal.

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