An Iowa State University expert who studies evolving weather patterns says two sharply different possibilities might be ahead for Iowa’s summer. One scenario from I.S.U. extension climatologist Elwyn Taylor shows a 60% chance it’ll be just like last summer. ”That says a lot for a cool summer, large crops, maybe wet fields at the end of the year, maybe wet crops at the end of harvest time,” Taylor says.

But Taylor is also watching central Pacific Ocean temperatures ominously moving toward what’s called La Nina that are sometimes associated with drought like the one that hit Iowa in 1983. Taylor says it turned hot in the middle of July and quit raining across the corn belt and that turned things into a disaster in 1983. “La Nina in the summer has been associated with our very greatest disasters to crops — and that’s really the path we are on right now — that doesn’t mean it’ll make it,” Taylor says. It’s a look at past trends — but doesn’t guarantee what will happen.

“It’s not there until it’s there, is kind of the way we look at it,” according to Taylor. Iowa farmers know how much the weather can change, overcoming a late harvest last year to get off to a good start this year. The latest crop report shows 98% of the corn acreage has been planted and 75% of the soybeans. Both are slightly ahead of the five-year average.