Spotty Rains Starting to Worry Farmers
By Dave Franzman, Reporter
LINN COUNTY, Iowa - Dry weather hasn’t gotten to the point where farmers are losing potential yield, or money, yet. But many farmers say another week or two without any significant rain and warm temperatures will kick drought concerns up another notch.
The most recent USDA crop report, released Monday, saw the ratings for both corn and soybeans slip. Eastern Iowa and most parts of the state are considered “dry” right now on a drought scale. But in northwest Iowa, on a line stretching from Storm Lake to Mason City, things are a bit worse with that area already getting a “moderate drought” ranking.
John Airy, Jr, president of the Linn County Soybean Growers Association, said he got .8 of an inch of rain on his soybean field near Central City last week. But the moisture just soaked right in. His no-till soybeans are coming in both spotty and struggling compared to normal.
“Especially with the heat they’re talking about later this week, we get two more weeks along without a half inch or an inch of rain people are really going to get concerned,” Airy said.
Airy said there is moisture a few inches below ground and corn plants, put in weeks ago, have roots deep enough to tap it. The corn is probably ok for now. But soybeans planted more recently need rain just to get started.
Airy said farmers are starting to talk about the spotty rainfall at every opportunity.
“It’s kind of on the front of people’s minds — nobody’s panicking yet, but it’s on the front of their minds,” he said.
Climatologists have rated this growing season, so far, as the driest since 2006.
Airy said farmers entered this year without much subsoil moisture due to a drier fall and winter than normal. So it will take regular rains just to make a decent crop and that isn’t happening yet.
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