DES MOINES, Iowa — After several years of derechos and a prolonged drought, Iowa farmers could use some relief.
They just might get it this spring. Justin Glisan, State Climatologist of Iowa, says there are strong signs of a cool spring, but also indications of wetter than normal conditions. That would follow the pattern of the last several years, which have brought cool and wet springs.
Denny Friest has farmed in Hardin county for decades. He compares the last several years to a rollercoaster, noting the three-year drought and 2020 derecho that flattened corn across the state.
Of course, a wetter spring also means the risk of a delayed planting season. Bob Hemesath, who farms in northeast Iowa, says that’s always a concern. But in his experience, current equipment and technology can accomplish a lot in a short period of time. Farmers like himself just need a narrow window of good weather to plant the crop.
Friest is optimistic heading into this spring. He recalls concerns about the delayed planting season last year, but how the corn made up for it in the end.
Positive thinking and flexibility will be needed as more wild weather inevitably heads our way. Glisan expects both temperature and precipitation extremes to become more common.
“That pendulum is swinging slower, we’re getting stuck into more persistent behavior, whether that be record wetness across northern Iowa in 2018 with D3 drought in southwestern Iowa. So our extremes are becoming closer together both spatially and temporally but they’re getting more extreme.”Justin Glisan, State Climatologist of Iowa
In the face of more extremes, there’s confidence farmers will get the job done no matter the weather.
“Our farmers are very resilient, they’re cognizant of these changes and I think out of the general population they’re the most adept at adapting to these types of weather extremes.”Justin Glisan, State Climatologist of Iowa