Rainfall caused drought to withdraw in some parts of Iowa


Drought
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | November 14, 2022

After a hot, dry summer and fall, drought conditions are retreating in most parts of Iowa. Last week, the Southern part of the state saw heavy rainfall, reducing drought conditions. The most rain seen was 4.3 inches with the lowest amount around 2 inches.  

The state had been in the worst drought in nine years and desperately needed rain, with northwest Iowa receiving the brunt of the effects. The rain missed this part of the state, not reviving any of the stress the drought has caused. Currently, two-thirds of the state is still suffering from the drought 

According to the Drought Monitor, above 10 percent of the state is listed as being in extreme drought or more severe. The area in extreme drought expands from Humboldt to Sioux City.  

End of harvest season is approaching as state experiences worst drought in nine years


Harvest
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Elyse Gabor | November 9, 2022

Harvest season is coming to an end in some parts of Iowa. Despite last week’s heavy rainfall, Northwest Iowa is almost done harvesting as that part of the state continues to face a lengthy drought.  

In total, around 90 percent of corn harvest has been completed while just under 100 percent of soybeans have been harvested. The almost complete harvest season is over a week ahead of schedule compared to the past five years.  

According to State Climatologist Justin Glisan, the heavy rainfall seen last week in south-central Iowa equaled over four inches with an inch of rain seen in the eastern part of the state.  

The rain was much needed as the state is the driest it has been in nine years, said the U.S. Drought Monitor. Northwestern Iowa, affected most by the drought, saw little to no rain.  

Iowa’s 20th case of bird flu found in backyard flock


Chicken
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | October 25, 2022

Bird flu has been detected in a backyard flock in Dallas County. The flock consists of 48 birds of a variety of species. 

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced the infection Thursday, with Iowa’s Agriculture Secretary, Mike Naig saying, “It is not unexpected that we would face additional highly pathogenic avian influenza challenges in Iowa given that the fall migration is underway, and many other states have recently announced confirmed cases.”  

This is the first detection since last May. However, in September hunters found a few birds containing the virus. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is working with other organizations to keep the birds safe and free from contamination.  

Overall, about 13.5 million birds have been found to have bird flu in Iowa. The virus is expected to last through this year and possibly next. According to Yuko Sato, a poultry extension veterinarian and diagnostician at Iowa State University, “It’s here to stay until it clears itself out. Might not be this year. Might be next year.” 

Snow crab population decrease has detrimental effects on Alaska


Crabbing the mouth of the Holy loch .
Via: Flickr

Elyse Gabor | October 19, 2022

Alaska’s snow crab season would be underway, but due to a massive population decrease, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has canceled the snow crab season. Scientists and officials anticipate that the cancellation will help the crab population increase.  

Cran boat captain, Dean Gribble Sr., who has been fishing for crabs for over 50 years said, “It’s going to be life-changing, if not career-ending, for people.” He went on to say, “A lot of these guys with families and kids, there’s no option other than getting out. That’s where the hammer is going to fall — on the crew.” 

Alaskan people rely on snow crab fishing for income, so this year’s cancellation has affected the state’s people and economy. This is the second year in a row that the season has been canceled. Scientists are unaware of why the crabs are disappearing, but global warming and rising temperatures in the oceans are likely reasons, as Alaska is warming at alarming rates.  

While crop conditions stabilize, corn and soybean yield is expected to drop from previous years


Corn field
Via: Flickr

Elyse Gabor | September 21, 2022

Iowa’s harvest season is here. After a summer full of droughts and unstable crop conditions, experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have rated more than 60% of the corn as good.  

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig, said, “Despite widespread rainfall over the weekend, we anticipate unseasonably warm and dry weather will continue through the end of September, setting up ideal conditions as harvest activities ramp up.” 

The past summers have brought droughts, affecting crop conditions. Last year, 58% of the corn was rated as good. Soybean crop conditions are higher than the previous year, with over 60% of the crop rated as good.  

Southeast Iowa has experienced the worst of the drought. The state is the driest it has been in a year, with the U.S. drought monitor rating the driest places in Iowa as in “extreme” drought.  

Although current corn conditions are better than 2021’s harvest season, the USDA said that Iowa’s corn productions are down about 2.5% from last year. Soybean production is projected to be down almost 5% from last year.  

Rainfall has caused crop conditions to become more balanced


Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | August 24, 2022

After excessive rainfall last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that crop conditions in Iowa have stabilized.  

State Climatologist Justin Glisan reported that Iowa received 23% more rain than usual. Northwest Iowa, which had been in a drought, received substantial amounts of these rainfalls.  

The rain caused a significant reversal in numbers from last week’s report. According to last Monday’s USDA report, more than 60% of Iowa’s corn is excellent. Soybeans report went down one percent with now just over 60% of the crop as excellent.  

The state’s Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said, “While showers and thunderstorms brought heavier totals across the drought region, we need several months of above-average precipitation to relieve the most intense drought conditions.”  

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the state has seen drought conditions becoming more severe in the past months. The state’s Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said, “While showers and thunderstorms brought heavier totals across the drought region, we need several months of above-average precipitation to relieve the most intense drought conditions.” 

Drought Worsens Crop Conditions in Southern Iowa


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | August 16, 2022

The percentage of Iowa’s corn and soybeans rated good or excellent declined at least 7 points last week, the largest such drop this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The latest USDA report said 66% of the state’s corn and 63% of soybeans were good or excellent, down from 73% and 71% a week ago.

Widespread moderate to severe drought conditions are affecting southern Iowa, where the available soil moisture for crops is dwindling. Less than 10% of topsoil and subsoil in southwest Iowa has adequate moisture, according to the USDA.

In northeast Iowa, 90% of the soil has adequate or surplus water. In the past two weeks, northeast Iowa has had above-average rainfall and southwest has been abnormally dry.

The state as a whole received less than half the rainfall of what is typically expected last week and less than half the state has adequate soil moisture.

The area of worst drought is still in northwest Iowa near Sioux City.

Crops Affected by Drought in Half of Iowa


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | August 3, 2022

Drought conditions are likely to develop over the southern half of the state in August as the month starts with abnormally hot days with little chance for rain, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

What started as a portion of the state being abnormally dry or in varying degrees of drought has expanded to more than half of the state. It’s the first time the dry area has been that large since April. The latest Drought Monitor report on Thursday showed an expansion of severe and extreme drought in northwest Iowa and the extension of abnormally dry conditions across much of southern Iowa.

Southwest Iowa previously led the state in available soil moisture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In early June, about 96% of its topsoil and subsoil had adequate or surplus moisture. As of Sunday, about 27% of topsoil and 36% of subsoil had adequate water for crops to grow.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Tuesday afternoon for the western half of the state. 

Last week, the state averaged temperatures of about 3 degrees cooler than normal with abysmal rainfall. Much of the south had no rain, and the highest reported rainfall accumulation was .89 inch near Churdan.

The state’s corn was rated 76% good or excellent, down from 80% the previous week. Soybeans were rated 73% good or excellent, down from 75%.

Idaho Researchers Found Correlation Between Pesticides and Cancer


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | July 12, 2022

University of Idaho and Northern Arizona University researchers found a correlation between agricultural pesticides and cancer in western states. Two studies were conducted. One examined correlating data in 11 Western states and one took a closer look at data in Idaho specifically

The studies found a possible relationship between agricultural pesticides, particularly fumigants, and cancer incidences. For the larger study, pesticide data was pulled from the U.S. Geological Survey Pesticide National Synthesis Project database, and the cancer data was gathered from National Cancer Institute State Cancer Profiles.

Alan Kolok led both studies. He is a University of Idaho professor and director of the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute. Kolok said the correlation between the sets of data on multiple population scales gives him a reason to want to look into the matter further, however it is not enough to be definite proof.

Idaho is the only state Kolok has taken a close look at, and his colleague and co-author at Northern Arizona University, Cathy Propper, said she didn’t know if the right data was available in other states like it was in Idaho.

Kolok said the next steps they hope to take are expanding their data research to a nationwide scale and further examining whether there is a cause behind the correlation they found between pesticides and cancer. 

Crops in Northwest Iowa Suffer Due to Drought


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | July 6, 2022

Corn and soybean plants are continuing to suffer in some parts of Iowa from excessive heat and drought. This has been seen especially in far northwest Iowa where drought conditions are worsening. 

Large areas of Plymouth and Woodbury counties are in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. It’s the first time in nearly a year that any part of the state was that dry. 

Much of the state’s corn crop is at its peak demand for water, and the soybean crop is approaching its peak. A small percentage of corn had begun to show silk for pollination as of Sunday, and about 13% of soybeans were blooming, the USDA report said.

In the past three weeks, the percentage of the state’s corn that is rated good or excellent has dropped from 86 to 77. 

Although there is drought in part of the state, soil moisture is still improved from a year ago. About two-thirds of the state’s topsoil and subsoil has adequate or surplus moisture, whereas last year more than half of the soil was short, according to the USDA report.