While flooding and too much rain has been the problem in other areas of Iowa this summer, drought has persisted in south-central Iowa. Along the Iowa-Missouri border, the counties of Davis, Van Buren and Appanoose have been particularly hard-hit, receiving little rain in June and July. Wapello County is also having a dry summer.
Iowa State University Extension will host two meetings on Aug. 9 to discuss drought conditions that are causing concerns for both crop and livestock producers.
The first meeting will take place in Van Buren County at 1:30 p.m. at the Roberts Memorial Building at 20497 Highway 1 in Keosauqua. The second will be in Appanoose County at 6:30 p.m. at the Rathbun Regional Water Association Treatment Plant at 16166 Hwy. J29 in Centerville.
The meetings will be hosted by ISU Extension’s Josh Michel, field agronomist; Joe Sellers, beef specialist; Patrick Wall, beef specialist; and Charles Brown, farm management specialist. Topics to be discussed during the meetings include crop growth and development under drought conditions, feeding drought-damaged crops, silage and crop insurance considerations.
CORN FIRING: A noticeable sign that drought is getting severe is when leaves on cornstalks start turning brown and dying.
Weather patterns and drought monitor considerations will also be discussed. Representatives from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service will be present to share information on assistance available through their offices.
Test cornstalks for nitrates
“The meetings are free and open to the public and are expected to last approximately 90 minutes,” Michel says. “Starting 45 minutes before the meeting, producers may bring five representative cornstalk samples for a quick nitrate assessment to be conducted either before or after the meeting, depending on time available.”
Some farmers want to chop their droughty corn and make silage, but you must be cautious about high levels of stalk nitrate that can cause sickness in cattle that are fed high-nitrate silage. For information on this topic and other management suggestions when dealing with drought, visit ISU Extension.
Answers to crop insurance questions
ISU’s Charles Brown has updated the ISU Extension publication Crop Insurance Coverage in Times of Drought or Floods — FAQs.
This week's U-S Drought Monitor shows an increasing area of southern Iowa being abnormally dry or in drought conditions.
The report shows all or parts of about 31 counties in Iowa impacted, in southern, southeast, and parts of east-central Iowa, including Johnson and parts of Linn counties, and tracking east to the Mississippi River.
Davis County in southeast Iowa has experienced drought conditions for the last several years. Most of Davis County this summer has been in extreme drought.