DRY CONDITIONS: Cooler, Wetter Summer Ahead


Iowa is slowly climbing out of two years of drought conditions.

Rain last week helped, but about 30% of the state is dealing with moderate drought conditions.

A cooler, wetter summer is expected and as farmers say, that’s good and bad for their crops.

One look at Brian Sampson’s Huxley corn field and you’ll think to yourself, if his crops are going to be knee high by the 4th of July, they better get started fast.

“We’d always like to have something we don’t have,” said Sampson.

What Sampson hasn’t had so far this spring has been heat.

Overnight lows in the 30s have resulted in his corn being a little bit slow to pop out of the ground.

“What we run on is heat units. That’s what we try to capture. When it’s 30 degrees, we just don’t get any,” Sampson told Channel 13 News.

In Iowa, the heat is pretty much guaranteed in the summer but the last two years has been dry.

“If it stays dry over the summer, we run into a deficit and that makes it very difficult for the crop, difficult for the lawns, everything,” said Myles Schumacher, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Schumacher says the consensus between forecasters is that Iowa breaks out of its dry spell this summer.

“I think overall for the summer rainfall is going to be pretty close to normal. If we have pretty close to normal rainfall, we’re starting out in pretty good shape. We should have a pretty decent year,” Schumacher told Channel 13 News.

The reason is the likelihood of an El Nino pattern in the summer which typically brings mild temperatures and more rain.

Sampson likes the forecast, but in weather and farming, nothing is guaranteed.

“I go into every year thinking things will go great. Then I deal with the things that don’t,” said Sampson.

So far in Iowa, 70% of corn and 14% of soybeans have been planted.

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