Iowa Apple Growers Fear Another Drought Year

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By Adam Carros

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's apple growers fear what another year of drought will do to their businesses.

Many growers also were clobbered last year by a late freeze.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa's production plummeted 94 percent last year, compared with 2011. The Iowa State research orchard in 2012 barely produced 10 bushels, or about 420 pounds. The facility usually produces 20 tons a year.

The National Drought Mitigation Center says all of Iowa is in drought, with the northwest quarter still in extreme drought.

Iowa State University horticulture professor Paul Domoto told the Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/YxCeXD) that without more soil moisture, "You could see many of these orchards going out of business."

He says apple crops aren't covered by insurance.

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