Some Iowa pumpkin growers are seeing a total loss of their crops this year, while others are grinning wide at the bumper harvest. Dave Hingardner has a commercial apple orchard on his farm near Tama and usually harvests about 2,000 pumpkins every fall.
“I don’t have any this year,” Hingardner says. “I planted them the normal time, but they ripened early. They ripened late July and now they’re all starting to get soft. They’re rotten so we’re not even picking them because they’re just too ripe to last to Halloween.”
Hinegardner blames the drought and July heat for the pumpkins ripening too quickly, costing him sales. “We usually get three or four dollars apiece, so probably seven-thousand dollars we’re losing.” But about 60 miles to the east, also on Highway 30, truck farmer John
Krull is telling a much different story about his orange gourds.”We’re actually up from where we usually are so we’re real pleased with the yields this year,” Krull says. “They’re extra big and the squash are extra big so everthing is working out for us.” Before timely rains came, Krull says he had arranged to buy irrigated pumpkins from Nebraska, but Mother Nature smiled on his pumpkin patch.
“It’s one of our better crops this year,” he says. “They’re turning orange right at the right time and now we’ve just gotta get them picked.” In addition to his on-farm produce market, Krull is trucking pumpkins to other less fortunate markets.