Drought Conditons Easing Up for Farmers

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An agency monitoring weather conditions claims local farmers will face better conditions this time around. Iowa isn’t in the clear yet though, farmers say they are going to need more rain to produce good yields.

Right now farmer Mike Holst’s field is empty but in a few months he’s hoping it’s filled with corn stocks. Lucky for him, it might come true. Iowa’s drought conditions have reduced by fifty percent according to the US drought monitor.

Although things might be looking up, Mike says farmers are going to need more rain, "We need 10-12 inches of rain coming out of the sky and usually if we have a full tank of subsoil moisture, the roots can draw some of the sub soil moisture when it doesn't rain."

They’ll need a minimum of 20 inches to produce a good crop and they need it sooner than later.

"We haven’t had a warm rain to take some of that frost out of the soil so as long as that frost remains in the soil it's not going to warm up,” says Mike.

Ideally he would like to start planting in early April, but if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, it’s going to impact more than just the farmers.

"If we are short of moisture, our crop yields are down, prices will rise, and there will just be less supply to meet that demand,” says Mike.

Farmers will have to work with what they have Mike says, "Each farmer is going to be trying to do certain things to try to preserve the moisture we already have and trying certain management practices so we can deal with less moisture." 

All they can do is prepare for what might not come, "We deal with this every year and we just have to be willing to adapt and try to make the best of whatever weather we get,” says Mike.

The U.S drought monitor shows that conditions in Illinois are much better, only a small area of Northwest Illinois, including the Quad Cities is considered abnormally dry.