The wintry mix gives Iowa farmers a sense of urgency

IARN — We are less than a week away from Halloween. After a 2020 growing season that hit us from all sides with a varying amount of challenges, we were starting to enjoy picture-perfect harvest conditions. For once, something was going our way. For many, they were able to take advantage of the weather and get their harvest done. However, some are now lamenting that time may not be on their side, once again.

In 2018 and 2019, we saw wet conditions hamper the harvest and put some producers in the fields into December and beyond. September and the first half of October gave Iowa some great conditions to really do the lion’s share of fall fieldwork. We were even talking about the timetables being longer for fertilizer applications. Then, last week, Mother Nature came back and pulled the rug out from under us yet again by dumping significant snowfall in central Iowa last Monday. Then, she brought back warm temperatures and rain for a rapid melt and the further muddying of the fields.

This Monday, we awoke to more snow and a layer of ice in the capital city. The forecast on this Monday morning does not show a high temperature out of the 30s until Wednesday, and 50s by the weekend. But there is also a large chance of rain around Thursday. That means it will be just enough to keep farmers at bay in many areas.

Around Earlham, yesterday, I did see some farmers doing tillage. The ground apparently cooperating enough to get some of the necessary work done. What is worrisome is the amount of crop still standing. There will be much interest in this afternoon’s crop progress report. The week prior shoed Iowa soybeans all but done and corn at about 60% harvested. The catch is that the weather was not as cooperative last week. Now eyes will be on suitable days and crop conditions.

These conditions are not confined to the borders of Iowa, our neighbors in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are also seeing some very abrupt slowdowns. This means that the last of the 2020 harvest may be a challenge for the Northwestern corn belt once again this year.

Bryce Anderson is a Senior Ag Meteorologist with DTN. He says this cold snap is going to be slow to come back from. When we do see temps start to climb back by the end of the week, it will be mud that will be the story in many Midwestern fields.

For more on this story, including audio from Bryce Anderson, visit the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Photo by Dustin Hoffman



Local News