Help for Iowa Farmers Impacted by Heat and Drought

Jul 24, 2020

Credit UNITED STATES DROUGHT MONITOR

A heat wave is impacting Siouxland.  A heat advisory kicked off at noon and runs through tomorrow night for a large part of the region, including northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota and Dixon and Dakota counties in northeast Nebraska.  The heat index will reach into the triple digits.

The National Weather Service says drink plenty of fluids, stay in air-conditioning if possible, stay out of the sun and take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. 

State agricultural experts say dry conditions are impacting crops in western Iowa. 

According to the United States Drought Monitor, more than half of Iowa is considered ‘abnormally dry” and about 40% of the state is in moderate to severe drought.

The map shows that most of northwest Iowa is experiencing moderate drought.  There is more severe drought impacting  counties closer to Des Moines.

The state climatologist says with sparse rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures drought conditions have deteriorated rapidly in some parts of west-central Iowa.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has partnered up with the USDA and Iowa Department of Agriculture to offer webinars each Thursday starting next week for farmers and producers impacted by drought conditions in Iowa.  Meetings will also take place in some of the more seriously impacted counties August 3-7.

News release from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach:

AMES, Iowa – With most of western Iowa experiencing some form of drought, specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to offer a series of webinars on Thursdays.

Beginning July 30, the group will kick off an initiative to help answer key questions regarding the development of drought in western Iowa, the expectation for continued hot and dry weather and impacts on row crops and forages. Attendees will be able to better manage livestock and drought-stressed forages, prepare for use of alternative forages, understand important crop insurance and marketing decisions, and plan for harvest of a drought-stressed crop.

“The crop condition in west central Iowa has been declining with continued dry conditions and higher temperatures,” said Mark Licht, assistant professor in agronomy and cropping systems specialist at Iowa State.

“This webinar series will provide some insights into the current weather patterns and approaches to proactively make decisions as crop progress continues to develop. While there is really no crop management decision to be made, this webinar series will help plan for potential forage options, estimating yield potential, and planning for harvest and storage of the existing crop.”

According to the latest report from the United States Drought Monitor, more than half of Iowa is considered “abnormally dry” and nearly 40% of the state is in moderate to severe drought – with the worst conditions in the west central portion of Iowa.

“Precipitation deficits have been accumulating across the drought region over the last several months,” Justin Glisan, state climatologist of Iowa. “With sparse rainfall and unseasonably warm temperatures, conditions have continued to deteriorate, rapidly in some parts of west-central Iowa locations.”

Topics will include a general weather update, drought monitor updates, pasture and hay shortages, preparing for silage and nitrates, yield estimates, and end-of-year considerations related to grain quality and storage.

Along with Licht and Glisan, speakers will include Dennis Todey, director, USDA Midwest Climate Hub; Aaron Saeugling, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach; Chad Hart, professor of economics and extension grain market specialist with Iowa State, and various others.

The webinars will run from 1-2 p.m. on July 30, Aug. 6, Aug. 13 and Aug. 20, and are intended for crop farmers and livestock producers in drought-affected areas, ag service providers and ag retailers, farm managers, ag lenders and anyone impacted by drought conditions in Iowa. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Corn Growers Association are sponsoring the series.

Registration is free but is required for participation and can be completed at any time during the series. A single registration allows for participation in any or all sessions.

In addition to the webinar series, local specialists are offering drought meetings in some of the most seriously affected counties from Aug. 3-7.

For more information, contact Meaghan Anderson, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach at 319-331-0058, or mjanders@iastate.edu. Mark Licht can be reached at 515-294-0877 or lichtma@iastate.edu.