The lack of moisture in Iowa over the last several months has cost farmers in terms of both yields and equipment repairs – and is raising concerns about next year’s prospects. Wayne Johnson is a corn grower in north-central Iowa near Forest City. “I have not seen it this dry in our area in my farming career,” Johnson said.
Parts of the state have only received around three inches of rain since July. Johnson said his corn was clearly struggling for water this summer and this fall, he and other area farmers had trouble tilling the dry, hard soil. “It was extreme. I know most of the local shops said they doubled their orders for…plow parts,” Johnson said. “Virtually everyone was sold out half way through the season. Parts I would (normally) use one of per season, (this year) I used eight to 10.”
Southeast Iowa is also feeling drought. Ray Jenkins, who buys corn for Cargill milling in Eddyville and Cedar Rapids, says yields this fall varied a great deal.
“For instance, going north of Eddyville and Oskaloosa, the (corn) crop was substantially better – 160 bushels an acre to yields pushing 200,” Jenkins said. “But in the Ottumwa, Fairfield and Bloomfield area – there were yields as low as 80 to 90 bushels an acre.”
Iowa State University climatologist Elywn Taylor says the drought is likely to be continue into next year.