Farmland Drought 2017
Drought conditions are impacting the agriculture industry across the state of Iowa. Rain fall totals for 2017 are 11″ – 25″ depending on what part of the state you are in. Last we checked, the ears of corn were missing the last 1.5″ of corn with most ears showing 18 rows, looking like there has not been enough moisture to finish growing. With about 1.5″ of rain since May some stalks have no ears and others have small, half formed rows of yellow kernels. The beans traditionally do better with the dryer weather and the canopy looks nice but the pods are missing size. Make no mistake our crops are hurting. Last week we saw a few farmers out spraying fungicide, but as dry as it has been we wonder if some farmers are opting out on this practice to save money. Some farmers are just glad that they have crop insurance, but most insurance carriers will only cover 85 percent of the losses. For this year I believe that farmers will be relying on their savings from bumper years prior. The drought comes as Iowa and U.S farmers struggle for a fourth year with declining income. This year, U.S. Farm income is expected to fall an estimated $62 billion. Iowa farm income has gone down 41%! Commodity prices are down 10% since July and corn is trading around $3.20 locally.
The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association is working with local and state agencies including the Farm Service Agency and ISU Extension to develop resources and information to help producers make the most of the forage available for their cattle. I see some local cattlemen that are selling out and others are chopping corn and making silage to supplement the forage shortage.
The picture below is from our friend, Justin Rowe, near Winterset Iowa.
According to Harry Hillaker, Iowa’s State Climatologist, only 2012 and 2013 brought less July rainfall to the state among the past 25 years. The last week of the month, only 37 percent of pastures in the state were rated good to excellent.
These conditions have, without a doubt, caused stress to Iowa crops in various areas of the state.
If you are looking for additional help or resources pertaining with the 2017 drought, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has several links for weather maps/reports, crops, livestock, home and yard.
Dealing with Drought 2017 https://www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/dealing-drought-2017
David Whitaker – Iowa Land Guy