Dry Weather Impacting Iowa’s Corn Yield

CARLISLE, Iowa  --  Warmer temperatures and dry conditions translate to low corn yields, and some Iowa farmers say this creates revenue struggles.

On the state level, some Republicans blame the revenue shortfall on a dwindling farm economy, while Democrats blame big tax breaks. Meanwhile, local farms are already feeling the effects.

Corey Goodhue has been a corn, soybean, and wine grape farmer in Carlisle, Iowa, his entire life. His yield is feeling the effects of low rainfall.

“The challenge is that we have no control over it, we have no irrigation, limited control. It’s tough to watch potential income burn up," Goodhue said. “Rainfall has been very spotty where we might get ten inches, our neighbors south of here might get zero."

The corn yield forecast is 183 bushels an acre, which is less than last year’s 203.

"The long-term response is less dollars in the farmer's pocket, and if he has less dollars he’s likely to put off machinery purchases," said Dave Miller of Iowa Farm Bureau.

According to the USDA, a bushel of corn is currently worth about $3, and to break even it needs to be $5.

One way the state aims to help is by paying farmers to plant cover crops.

"Cover crops are anywhere from $15 to $40 dollars an acre to put those cover crops on, without any additional return in the short run. In the long term there may be soil building."

Farmers like Goodhue said building soil is important, especially in dry weather.