The recent cold, wet weather is raising concerns for Iowa farmers. Most of the state’s corn crop has been planted, but some crops were damaged by frost last weekend. Iowa State University Extension Climatologist Elwynn Taylor says those damaged plants may have trouble recovering in the soggy conditions this week.
“Corn that’s been damaged on the top by frost usually does all right if we have some clear, crisp weather following the freeze – rather than soggy, cold weather which sets the plant up for disease and other problems,” Taylor said. The southern third of Iowa’s been hit the hardest this week, receiving 2 to 4 inches or more of rain. Temperatures across the state have been much cooler than normal for this time of year which Taylor says has greatly slowed growth in the fields.
“The plants in the field just aren’t doing very much,” Taylor said. Farmers can’t do much at this point but wait and see how their corn crop recovers. “You just watch where there was frost damage and look to see if the new corn leaves are making their way up through the damaged tissue. In a week or so after the damage, if the new leaves aren’t beginning to show, then you know you’ve got a problem you have to deal with,” Taylor said.
Farmers are hoping to avoid replanting because of the extra work and expense. Drier and warmer weather is forecast for Iowa this weekend.