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Friday, June 21, 2024

Wetness, winds and weeds are troubling many Iowa farmers this season

Wetness, winds and weeds are troubling many Iowa farmers this season

There’s still no drought in Iowa, but the number of counties where the soil is considered abnormally dry has almost doubled in the past week, bouncing from around 16 counties to nearly 31, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map.

Angie Rieck Hinz, a field agronomist with the Iowa State University Extension, says crop conditions in her region of north-central Iowa are improving.

“Last week, the corn finally greened up and took off in growth,” Rieck Hinz says. “This week, the beans are finally greening up and looking like they’re getting some rapid growth.”

It requires a delicate balance of both rain and sunshine to grow crops, and this season’s been heavy on the rain so far, as a change of pace from nearly four years of drought. Rieck Hinz says the gusty winds are also an issue.

“It’s really hard to get those post-applied herbicides on because it’s just so windy, and we want those herbicides to land in our field and not our neighbor’s fields. We don’t want a drift situation,” she says. “I’d remind people to make sure they’re looking at the labels. Make sure they’re not off-label with their herbicide application.”

Iowa’s backyard gardeners know how tough it is to keep out the weeds, so imagine what it’s like for farmers with a few hundred acres of crops. She says weeds are sprouting in many fields right and left.

“That’s been a huge challenge this year because we were so wet early on, we just couldn’t get a lot of timely herbicide applications,” Rieck Hinz says. “Farmers might want to think about that second post application in soybeans, just to get those weeds under control, especially if they didn’t have a pre-emerge herbicide on and those weeds got ahead of them.”

Forecasters say temperatures will rise back into the 80s and 90s today and for the next several days across much of Iowa, with the chance for scattered showers through Saturday.

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