On New Year’s Day, highs only reached 11° with lows coming in at 0°. On Jan. 2, Des Moines recorded a low of -8° and a high of 8°. When you average those temperatures you get a two-day average of 2.75°, which is more than 20° below average. Of course, that cold blast was short-lived as highs rose into the 30s both yesterday and today. When temperatures rise back above the freezing point, some of Iowa’s farm fields get a boost, but only if they contain cover crops. 

Cover crops are planted in the fall and used to increase the soil’s overall health. Jean Eells is a landowner in Stratford and said, “If it gets warm enough and they’re not covered by three feet of snow, they’re going to photosynthesize just enough to keep those soil microbes real happy. And when they’re happy, their plants benefit from all of the nutrients that the microbes make available to them and their roots.”

Although another cold blast is on the way for the rest of the work week, the cover crops will get another shot of warmer air on Saturday as highs rise back into the 30s.