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


Harvest
Via Flickr

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 drought and harvest, an update


Via Flickr

Grace Smith | October 20, 2022

For the first time in nine years, all of Iowa is undergoing a drought, ranging from abnormally dry to exceptionally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. About 27 percent of Iowa experienced a severe drought and around 7 percent of Iowa was labeled as extremely dry, including portions of northwest Iowa.

“For the first time since August 2013, all of the state is experiencing some form of abnormal dryness or drought,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig told the Iowa Capital Dispatch, “but weather outlooks through the end of [the] month are indicating potential shifts toward wetter conditions and warmer temperatures.”

Despite the extremely dry conditions, Iowa’s harvesting is ahead of its five-year average as of Oct. 17. Around 38 percent of Iowa’s corn and 74 percent of soybeans have been harvested this year. Normally, 29 percent of corn and 49 percent of soybeans are harvested this time of year. Farmers have had six days or more on average to harvest in the field in the past two weeks. 

23 percent of crops have been harvested as of Oct. 9, and some farmers are struggling to harvest a variety of wet corn and soybeans versus dry. Farmers can expect a larger expense to store dry corn with dry crops, while wetter crops are more difficult to harvest.

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.  

Apples and Diphenylamine (DPA)


Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.
Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.

The Environmental Working Group recently blogged about apples and DPA, the pesticide applied to apples once they’re harvested to protect them during storage.

DPA is an antioxidant that slows the development of black patches on the skins of picked apples in storage.

This chemical has caused a debate in both the US and EU on whether or not DPA should continue to be used on our produce.

The EU recently restricted DPA to 0.1 part per million, because people would not be at risk with concentrations that low, but some apples, although not sprayed with DPA, can have trace amounts of the pesticide if stored in a warehouse that once used it.

Although the EPA must review pesticides every 15 years to make sure there is no harm to humans, they haven’t reviewed DPA in 16 years.

Purchasing organic apples, organic apple juice, or organic apple sauce, is an easy change to make to reduce the risk of ingesting potentially harmful chemicals.

To read the full story on apples and DPA, click here.

Iowa’s Deer Harvest Declined for Eighth Straight Year


Photo by Rich Herrmann; Flickr
Photo by Rich Herrmann; Flickr

For the first time since the mid-1990’s, the DNR reported that Iowa’s deer harvest has dropped below 100,000. In 2013, hunters reported 99,406 deer.

This indicates a positive response from hunters when asked to reduce the size of the herd, but now the DNR is encouraging hunters to work with landowners and base their harvest on local herd conditions.

Deer hunting provides an economic impact of almost $214 million, paying more than $15 million in federal taxes and nearly $15 million in state taxes. It also supports 2,800 jobs and provides more than $67 million in earnings.

On the Radio: University of Iowa uses local pine trees as biofuel


TreeHarvest

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses renewable energy at the University of Iowa.

The University of Iowa and Johnson County are teaming up to increase renewable energy production on campus.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Some Iowa farmers report better than expected harvest


Photo by wattpublishing, Flickr.

While the results are mixed, many Iowa farmers are reporting surprisingly high corn and soybean yields. In fact, some farmers had their highest yields ever this year despite the drought.

The reason for the large differences between farmers’ yields has to do with the high variability in this year’s rainfall. This led to some farmers receiving enough rain during pollination, while other farmers’ crops suffered.

Better than expected results have been reflected in Iowa’s estimated soybean yields, which have risen 10 percent since September.

Read more from The Gazette here.

Deer harvest reduced for sixth consecutive year


Photo by BugDNA, Flickr.

Iowa hunters reported harvesting 121,407 deer during the 2011-2012 hunting seasons – a 4.5 percent drop from the 127,094 deer harvested in 2010 – 2011. Since 2006, Iowa’s deer population has dropped by 30 percent.

“Deer numbers in many areas are near or below the department’s objective,” said Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau. “We are hearing complaints from hunters that they are not seeing the number of deer that they had in the past and some are voicing their concerns that the herd reduction may have gone too far.”

This spring, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources intends to review the population surveys and take appropriate action.

For more information, read the full DNR news release.

Iowa hits record ethanol production


An ethanol plant in Iowa. Photo by Hendrixson, Flickr.

Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants produced a record 3.7 billion gallons in 2011, a 200 million gallon increase from 2010. Monte Shaw, Executive Director of Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, largely attrbitues this rise to exports.

“2011 was certainly a good year for Iowa ethanol producers with increased production and profitability,” said Shaw. “However, we relied on export markets for growth.”

Roughly 62 percent of Iowa’s 2010 corn harvest were used to produce the 3.7 billion gallons of ethanol.

For more information, view the full story at the Des Moines Register.