Drought Conditions Forecast to Last Well into Winter, Helping & Hurting Harvest

(Radio Iowa) Harvest season is underway in Iowa with drought conditions ranging from severe to extreme — and forecasts show those conditions will likely continue well into winter. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says there are a few benefits to the dry weather, like how the tractors aren’t getting mired in mud.

“People, when they’re ready to harvest, are going to be able to get out and harvest because there’s nothing really slowing them down,” Todey says, “though the thing that may slow them down in some cases is that beans may be too dry or something like that. I was hearing people waiting until the evening when it’s a little more humid to do some harvesting.” Todey says the soil continues to dry out and dry deeper across wide sections of Iowa.

“Soils are very dry at this point,” he says, “so soil moisture recharge is a concern and a very serious concern because of some dryness expanding all the way back into 2021 that we didn’t quite recover from completely.” Todey says there are a number of harvest time hazards for farmers and passing motorists due to the dry conditions.

“I was driving through southern Minnesota last night and somebody was doing a bean field that looked like there was a fog over the bean field because there was so much dust kicked up,” he say. “I saw somebody tweet, too, that it was a good thing that they had auto-steer because I’m not sure they could see where they were going because of the dust that’s being kicked up. So, multitude of problems because of very severe drought.” Many locations in Iowa are now showing six-to-eight-inch precipitation deficits for the year.

D(Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)