A drier than usual May has had an impact on farmer’s crops around Iowa

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - All the dry weather we’ve been seeing has been impacting farmers around Eastern Iowa.

Brian Hora has been farming for almost 40 years. He said they normally see this dry patch much later in the season. Now all they can do is wait and hope for the rain to come.

”We need rain now. This is a tough time of year to be extremely dry,” said Hora.

Hora farms around 700 acres of land in Washington County. While his crops are in the ground and have started to grow, the dry May we’ve been seeing hasn’t made the season easy.

”It’s made it a little bit of a challenge to try to figure out, OK, when do I want to put a herbicide on so that would actually do something with the dry weather. We need some rain to activate some of that chemical and we haven’t seen rain here in three weeks. Better than three weeks,” said Hora.

With temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees in some places, Hora said the ground temperatures can reach up to 130 degrees in the later parts of the day.

”The crops certainly hurt during the afternoons. You can tell the stress on it,” he said. ”That’s the scary thing about it is the last few years we’ve been pretty good in May and June as far as rainfall and then we got hot and dry in July and August, we’ve started that process, you know, month, month and a half early this year.”

But it’s not all bad news. State climatologist Justin Glisan said we’re moving into an El Nino year - a warmer phase of the Pacific Ocean weather that impacts weather.

”At this point, we’re moving in the right direction in terms of the large-scale atmosphere to support weather conditions as opposed to those La Nina years that we just have had. We’re getting more towards higher probabilities of thunderstorms each day,” said Glisan.

For now, taking things day by day until the rain comes.

”It’s just one of those where you’re you’re trying to decide how much more do I put into a crop, It’s a tough decision. But a stress crop is never good to have to deal with, and we’re definitely dealing with the stress,” said Hora.