SLATER, IOWA — A cold and wet spring to a hot and dry late summer season is making farmers across the state worried.
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System 56.1% of the state is categorized as abnormally dry, resulting in stress shown on crops. 17.2% of the state is in a moderate drought, and the last 11% is categorized as severe drought or worse. Those numbers are based off the week of July 27, 2022.
Farmers in northern Polk County voiced their concerns on Wednesday. One farmer said that his crops are in better shape than other places in the state where it is considerably more dry. But the farmer added that if there is no rain in the forecast soon, it will impact the crops.
The forecast for the week ahead shows very little, if any, chance of rain barring any changes. Another farmer on Polk County’s northern border said that he is concerned for his crop this year.
“We can’t even remember the last time it had rained more than an inch,” said Aaron Lehman, who farms 500 acres of soybean and corn.
Corn is in the pollination stage and he said that the timing could not be worse.
“We have got a long ways to go though before we can call it that we have got a good crop, especially for this really critical time for corn,” said Lehman. “That is probably the worst one for hot dry weather, and we are having it right now. Soybeans we always need a good August to fill out our soybean crop. So we don’t know where we are headed with that.”
Lehman added that soybean typically holds up better in the heat, but this next month will be crucial.
Aside from concerns of the dry conditions there is worry about the price of crops come harvest time. Fertilizer, equipment, diesel and labor prices have all been going up this year and Lehman is hoping that the soybean and corn prices can hold on so he can have a profitable year.
“You do your best to purchase your inputs at the right time and be smart about it but there is only so many choices for seed and for fertilizer,” said Lehman. “The price of fertilizer went up, the price of seed went up, the price of chemicals that we have to use. And those prices tend to stay high, even when corn and soybean prices start to drop back down. So it’s a real worry because margins are going to be very thin.”
All the farmers that talked with WHO 13 News on Wednesday said that they do not know how long the crops can hold up without the water and they don’t want to find out.
“Pessimistic until the crop is in the bin,” said one farmer.