Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 21, 2014

Drought all but gone in southeast Iowa

By XIOMARA LEVSEN, Golden Triangle News Service | Apr 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) – According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) drought monitor southeastern Iowa is no longer part of the drought status. This includes all but the northwestern part of Washington County.

In the past week, parts of Washington County have received almost 2 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service, with more rain expected next week.

The moisture from the past week’s rain has made many Washington County farmers, like Mike Roberts of Ainsworth, happy.

“The moisture has been very beneficial,” Roberts said. “The drainage tile has been running which is about 3 feet deep. This means there’s moisture in the top and subsoil.”

Roberts said he hopes this year’s growing season turns out better than last year’s. Last year the State of Iowa had drought status statewide.

“We had a reduction in crop production,” he said. “I know we fared better than some areas.”

Roberts farms 2,000 acres of farmland just south of Ainsworth. He said he isn’t concerned about not being able to plant his corn and soybean crop yet because of too much moisture.

“It would have to be another month of this,” Roberts said in reference to the rain Washington County has had this month. “I don’t start planting typically until late April.”

Not all of Iowa is out of the drought. Central parts of Iowa including Des Moines and western Iowa are still considered to be in a severe drought according, to the USDA’s drought monitor.

Roberts has a sister who lives in Spirit Lake. He said they’re still hoping for more moisture there.

“She said they haven’t had much of a winter,” Roberts said. “When I spoke with her last week it was 37 there and almost 81 here. That’s a big temperature change.”

Iowa State University Field Agronomist Jim Fawcett thinks this moisture is beneficial but could delay things for farmers.

“If it continues on for two weeks the moisture could delay some planting and spring field work,” Fawcett said. “It’s been a little cool, too.”

Fawcett agreed with Roberts’ thoughts on getting moisture in the summer.

“Things can change in a hurry,” Fawcett said. “This moisture puts things in a better shape. The subsoil moisture will help with the dry weeks in the summer, but we still need to continue to receive rain this summer.”

 

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