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Agriculture

Expert: Iowa’s Drought Likely To Remain At Least Through July

Signs of the drought in central Iowa are apparent just off the road in Marion County. A vast majority of farmers are protected from crop losses with federally backed insurance.
IPR File
Despite a bit of rain, Iowa’s drought worsened in the past month, an expert told the Iowa Farmers Union Thursday.

Despite a bit of rain, Iowa’s drought worsened in the past month, an expert told the Iowa Farmers Union Thursday.

Dennis Todey, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub, said the prospects for the rest of the summer are hard to forecast. At best, Iowa would get enough rain to hold off an even worse drought, he predicted.

“Coming into this year, we had dry soils, so we had concerns,” Todey said. “It’s not gotten any better. It’s actually gotten worse.” Higher than average temperatures, 6 to 8 degrees higher in some places, have not helped, he added.

The drought is the worst in 20 years, Todey said. And the long-term forecasts don’t call for much rain in the Midwest in the next week, he added.

“There won’t be a lot of improvement for anyone. The odds are that Iowa stays in some kind of drought” at least through July, Todey said.

Southern Iowa has received more rain and isn’t as dry as central and northern Iowa, Todey said.

To the north, including the Dakotas, farmers have sold cattle because of shortages of feed and water, he added. Fire risks have grown.

The U.S. Drought Monitor this week listed 85.6% of the Iowa in some kind of drought, down from 92.5% the week before. Three months ago, that figure stood at 41%.

None of Iowa is classified in the two most severe categories of drought.

Todey said corn plants are approaching the tassel stage, making the lack of moisture more of a problem.

This article was republished from Iowa Capital Dispatch.