Farmers are not optimistic about crop sitiuation

By Joseph L. Murphy

Roger Van Ersvelde, an Iowa Soybean Association member from Brooklyn, has to go back to 1988 to remember dry crop conditions like this. For Van Ersvelde and other Iowa farmers, a lack of rain since early May combined with high winds has left crops suffering.

Roger Van Ersvelde checks the conditions of his soybean field. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

Roger Van Ersvelde checks the conditions of his soybean field. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

“I’m not real optimistic,” Van Ersvelde said. “If we do not get adequate rain in the next two weeks we’re going to see our yields start suffering.”

For Van Ersvelde subsoil moisture started out high, but has quickly fallen to the point where his crops are beginning to show signs of stress. He added that he has only received an inch and a quarter of rain in the seven weeks since he finished planting. That is less than half of the amount that he normally receives.

“Our fields are real ragged,” Van Ersvelde said. “You’ve got some that have emerged and some areas of the fields that are just poking through.”

He went on to say that until they received a small amount of rain on Sunday night they still had beans laying in dry dirt. A report released by the United States Department of Agriculture said that warm, dry conditions are beginning to stress Iowa row crops. The report goes on to say that the crops continue to be rated mostly good to excellent, but crop conditions declined slightly for the third straight week.”

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“The lack of significant rainfall for much of the state remains a concern,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bil Northey said. “In general the crop remains in fairly good condition but will need more moisture as it continues to develop.”

Van Ersvelde is hopeful that with current row crop methods they will have better yield results than in 1988.

“I will say that 1988 versus today the genetics are much better, and the way we managed our soils for moisture, using no-till and reduce tillage, is significantly better than 1988,” Van Ersvelde said. “So even if we stay dry I think we will be surprised on how the crops do.”

Originally published for the Iowa Soybean Association. Find more great stories at: www.iasoybeans.com/news

 

Grey clouds bring no relief from drought

By Joseph L. Murphy

As a thick layer of grey clouds diminished the hot summer sun Don Swanson, an Iowa Soybean Association member, walked through one of his soybean fields near Ottumwa. The clouds could not be more misleading. It would appear, if you did not know we were facing a record drought, that it could rain at any moment. But like many other days this summer, rain never fell and his soybean and corn fields would not receive the relief they so desperately needed.

Don Swanson looks over a soybean field near his home in Ottumwa that has been stunted by the dry conditions. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

Don Swanson looks over a soybean field near his home in Ottumwa that has been stunted by the dry conditions. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

“We got off to a great start this spring,” Swanson said. “We started planting corn in early April, and we got the soybeans in without any problems. At this point, the soybeans are showing good color, but there are a lot of abortion in pods, and I think they’ve gone backwards in height as they’ve tried to conserve all the moisture they can.”

Swanson reached down and pulled one of his soybean plants from the field and instinctively examined it while shaking his head. While looking at the plants health, he voiced his concern that the drought conditions will soon be bringing other problems.

“I’m very nervous about spider mites and aphids coming in,” Swanson said while looking at the leaves of the soybean plant. ”We’re still optimistic and as weather conditions warrant we’ll still fight the bugs.”

A farmer holds a normal ear of corn next to one that has been impacted by drought. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

A farmer holds a normal ear of corn next to one that has been impacted by drought. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

But the outlook for rain to come to the rescue is looking as dark like as the skies above. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting the drought to persist or intensify through October, 31.

“There’s nothing in the forecast,” Swanson said about the chance for rain. “The question now will be analyzing our crop insurance guarantees to look at economic thresholds. We’ll have to see if there’s a chance to continue to invest in this crop to provide an economic return above the federal threshold.”

Swanson like many other farmers will continue to watch the situation and work his hardest to grow a successful crop. “Farmers aren’t good at giving up,” Swanson said.

Originally published for the Iowa Soybean Association. Find more great stories at: www.iasoybeans.com/news