Iowa’s sweet corn crop needs rain


CARLISLE, Iowa — For years the Penick family has been growing and selling sweet corn to the Des Moines metro area. This year there are questions as to what type of crop they will have due to the dry conditions in central Iowa. Mike Penick compares this year to his first year farming in 1977.

“It was extremely hot and dry like this,” said Penick. “This year started out cold. We had a hot spell and still no rain … It’s starting to show some effects on the corn.”

1977 barely grew any corn. Then when the rain came the soybeans yielded well. This year Penick says there is still hope for sweet corn in July.

“If we get some rain we can have a fourth of July, the sixth of July, somewhere in there … but we’ve got to have some rain because if we don’t have the rain I don’t know if it’s going to pollinate,” said Penick. “You can’t be negative on a day like this. A day like this is good. Yes, we haven’t had much rain, but it sure beats yesterday when it was 95 and a blistering sun.”

The cool weather is helpful as the sweet corn enters the ear development stage.

“The corn ears are being determined in the field corn, so if they are under stress when they’re figuring out the size of the ears,” said Penick. “It’s not good to get under stress then, and that shrinks the size.”

For updates on the Penick Sweet Corn, click here.

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