Parker

Drought conditions worsen, some corn & soybean plants are ‘suffering’

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 5th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Drought conditions are expanding across the state, spreading throughout southern Iowa, but the northwest region is being hit hardest. Don Kass farms in Plymouth County, which is in extreme drought. He says his crops have been faring well so far, but he’s starting to see signs of heat distress. “It’s kind of spotty,” Kass says. “Some fields look like they’re there okay. Other fields, you can see that it’s lighter soil and that the lack of moisture is profound and they’re really suffering.”

Kass says it’s a critical time for corn and soybean development. He says the area needs to see significant rainfall soon to aid the crops’ pollination process. This year, the region saw its second driest June on record, what’s typically the wettest month of the season. On a daily basis, Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Joel DeJong says he sees corn leaves curling and soybean leaves turning over to protect themselves from the heat. “Every day that we’ve got this, particularly the really extreme heat, I think it’s hurting our yield potential significantly,” DeJong says, “more so, closer to Missouri and Big Sioux than it is as you go east.”

DeJong says he expects the region’s yields will be impacted more than they were during last year’s drought. That’s due to a prolonged period of higher temperatures. Compared to last year, the region has seen more 90-degree weather. The latest U-S Drought Monitor map shows around 60 Iowa counties are in some form of drought, with 30 counties abnormally dry, 20 counties in moderate drought, six in severe drought and four (Cherokee, Plymouth, Sioux & Woodbury) in extreme drought.

(reporting by Kendall Crawford, Iowa Public Radio)