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.
“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.”
“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