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home : news : news Tuesday, November 21, 2017

8/23/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Garden spot for rainfall? You're in it this season
Farmers report ideal conditions for crops

By Beau Bowman

Western Iowa is going through a dry spell, northeastern Iowa is a little wet, but east-central Iowa seems to be in the perfect spot. Farmland and otherwise.

According to Skott Gent, a farmer from Monmouth and a member of the Jackson County Farm Bureau, eastern Iowa has been blessed with the perfect amount of rain.

"Talking to people at the state fair, up north, they've been getting hit with 4 to 9 inches [of rain] at a time, while west of here has hardly gotten any," he said. "Eastern Iowa seems to been the garden spot for rain."

Dustin Johnson, president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau Board, agreed with Gent's assessment, saying east-central Iowa is the perfect spot to be this year.

"Talking with [other county board presidents], it's pretty rough out there in the rest of the state, and it makes you feel a lot better," Johnson said.

Gent said cooler-than-usual weather could slow the growing process a bit, but it could be a blessing in disguise.

"The cooler weather means the corn won't be ready quite on time," he said, "but it will increase the quality of the yield."

Comparable yields?

And he is already seeing a lot of improvement in soybeans, too, after a slow start in June. But Gent says the pods are filling up nicely.

And barring a mid-September frost, the crops this year shouldn't be too far behind last year's, and the yield should be comparable, too.

The garden spot has also been kind to the cattle. According to Gent, the grass in the pasture has been growing.

"We're mowing every week," he said, "which means they have plenty of grass to eat and should make for a heavy weigh-in this fall."

Johnson said his corn crop just north Clinton is behind schedule, and he predicted the yield would be slightly down from last year.

"Our farm planted a little bit later because of the wet spring, so the corn is a little bit behind," he said. "Our yield is going to be about 10-15 bushels smaller than last year."

Johnson also said his pastures and soy beans benefited from the rain and cool weather that came with August.

"Our pastures are in great shape," he said, "and the rain we got allowed the soybeans to fill their pods."

Some drought reported

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released a statement last week to report all of Iowa had experienced lower- than-normal temperatures and most of the state received below-normal rainfall.

"The cooler temperatures we saw last week were welcome," Northey said in the statement, "but the lack of significant rainfall means drought conditions remain in place for many parts of Iowa, with severe drought in much of south-central and southeast Iowa."

The report also said that 95 percent of Iowa's corn crop had reached the silking stage, which is five days ahead of the five-year average, and 42 percent had reached the dough stage, four days behind.

Soybean blooming was one week behind last year at 89 percent.

Alfalfa cutting was a little ahead of schedule, with the second cutting nearly complete and the third cutting already 38 percent finished, three days ahead of last year.

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