HINTON, Iowa | Seventy-nine percent of Iowa's corn crop was rated good to excellent by the United States Department of Agriculture, which released its crop update on Monday.

Eighty percent of the Nebraska corn crop is good to excellent, while 77 percent of the corn in South Dakota falls in one of those two categories.

Those numbers may have gotten a boost on Monday evening as a number of storm fronts pushed through, most of them packing a punch of rain. Storm Lake, Iowa, which was in need of moisture, recorded 2.04 inches. Folks in Spencer, Iowa, measured 1.4 inches. Pocahontas, Iowa, received 0.89 inches.

Drought monitors, as of Monday, rated parts of Buena Vista, Sac and Pocahontas counties as abnormally dry.

While there are pockets of corn in Siouxland languishing in low-lying wet spots, much of the crop either has or will soon begin pollination. Twenty-nine percent of Iowa's corn is silking, ahead of the 17 percent five-year average.

"Statewide, corn is 75 to 80 percent good to excellent," said Paul Kassel, an ISU Extension crops specialist based in Spencer. "I think that's accurate. I don't see a big change in our area this week. Right now, things are pretty good."

"I'd like to bring the temperature and the wind speed down a bit," said Joel DeJong, an ISU Extension crops specialist based in Le Mars, Iowa. "The moisture demand for the plant might be a bit higher than the root system can supply, which is a minor problem."

During pollination, De Jong said, ideal conditions would have rain falling and temperatures moderating in the low 80s. That's what some forecast models are showing for the next few days.

"Over the next two weeks, we'll take whatever rain we can get," said Keith Jarvi, the University of Nebraska Extension pro based in Dixon County. "The highest water use by the plant takes place during pollination, which is just starting. All we need now is some rain. We're on track for good yields."

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