Some Iowa farmers are facing cornstalk standability issues this harvest as drought conditions stress corn to the point where the plants have used all available resources to finish grain fill.

Experts are saying widespread standability issues in corn this year are likely a sign that the crop simply “ran out of gas” given the hot, dry conditions. The exact impact on yields across the state remains to be seen.

“In general, I am seeing poorer stalk quality than I would expect for this time of year,” said Rebecca Vittetoe, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach field agronomist in east-central Iowa. “It does vary within fields and from field to field.

“I cover 10 counties in east central Iowa, and everyone is being impacted by the dry conditions to an extent — some areas obviously more severe than others.”

Meaghan Anderson, ISU Extension field agronomist in central Iowa, said it has been a particularly stressful end to the growing season across the state, with longer periods between rainfall events and stifling heat during late grain fill.

“It seems to me that the crop used up much of its resources in the plant to fill grain and sacrificed stalk quality in the process,” Anderson said. “Fields with higher disease levels and...