Western Iowa farmers face deepening drought, stagnant prices for yields
Western Iowa farmers face deepening drought, stagnant prices for yields.
A deepening drought has become a stressful situation for many western Iowa and Nebraska farmers, made worse by the fact that the price for corn — down by about half since it soared in 2012 and 2013 — isn’t budging.
But he’s looking at the one-two punch of less-productive acres and low prices.
Iowa is faring better, with less than 2 percent of the state in severe drought, about 35 percent in moderate drought and 64 percent abnormally dry.
Nearly 11 percent of the continental United States is in moderate drought or worse, said Richard Heim, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in this week’s drought summary.
About half of the nation’s spring wheat, 13 percent of winter wheat, 15 percent of corn and 14 percent of the soybeans are in drought, the report said.
Nebraska in 2012 faced the kind of drought conditions that come around only every 25 to 50 years, said associate state climatologist Al Dutcher.
It would take above-normal rains in drought-affected areas to see relief.
Rains of about a half-inch or less wouldn’t do much to help a corn grower, especially now, the part of the growing season when crops’ water demands are the highest, Dutcher said.
Some of the area’s corn crop is too far gone, he said, for rain to make much difference now.