January 25, 2021

Last week's rainfall helped, just not the already matured crops

Other areas in west central Iowa are even drier, but places like Adair County received a slight boost to their own drought conditions last week as a steady, gentle rain fell over a span of several days.

While this moisture helped in some ways longtime Adair County farmer Ralph Lents estimates that the rains weren’t able to help the corn and soybean crops very much simply because of how late it is in the growing season. He expects soybean harvesting to begin late this week.

“It might make the bean seed a little bigger if they’re still green, but other than that it won’t make very much difference,” Lents said. “Corn is done, it has matured and is drying down. It hasn’t done a thing for our corn.”

Lents says income will be down this year due to conditions and a subsequent lack of bushels.

Also due to the drought, livestock producers are looking to alternative feeding options for animals far earlier in the year than usual because of a lack of good pasturelands.

Back on the crop side, most of the corn isn’t ready to be harvest, Lents said. When corn harvest does begin, he is optimistic for how it will go.

Justin Glisan, State Climatologist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s Climatology Bureau, stated that Greenfield was down a little greater than 10 inches Tuesday from where it should be at this point in the calendar year. Greenfield has received 18.2 inches of moisture since the start of the year.

Glisan said the area came in 2020 in a good spot in terms of moisture, which is likely to put 2020 in a better spot all-time against another recent dry year, 2012.

“The drought we’re in now is pretty much localized to western Iowa and into Nebraska. If we see what we expect in September, October and November precipitation-wise we should make some significant improvements in drought conditions,” Glisan said. “I think where we’re worried right now is sub-soil recharge, and these gentle rains we had over the last week, those are the kinds of rainfall we want to see because those are the ones that filter down into the soil instead of running off.”