Let it rain

·3 min read

Jul. 18—A dryer than normal June had farmers in the area edging on nervous as the summer months were underway during the growing season. Thankfully, wet weather as June wrapped up and July started helped calm some worries.

"At this point crops are doing very well in this area. We went through some very stressful weather the first couple weeks of June and crops were struggling but luckily we had some cool nights that helped us out tremendously getting through those three weeks of hot, dry weather," area farmer Jeremy Terpstra said. "Since then, we've picked up some much needed and timely rainfall and everything looks a lot better."

While the rain that has watered the fields was much needed, additional precipitation is also important as the growing season continues. Terpstra said there were some pockets in fields and light hillsides that are still very much in need and timely rainfalls are a must since there is still not very much subsoil moisture.

"The corn was rolling up in the heat before the rains came," local farmer Eric Siebrecht said. "If we would have missed the rains the crop would have been in trouble. Everything benefited greatly from the rains. If it would haven't rained, I would have had to start haying the cows in the pasture because the grass was going dormant."

Every season has its challenges, whether it be too much rain, inclement weather hitting the fields or, like this season, a dry start. In that case, Terpstra said he was seeing some issues with emergence after the ground dried out following planting, and there wasn't enough moisture to get the seed sprouted, especially soybeans.

"To help with these issues there was some changes in tillage practices to not dry out the ground as much and also was planting the seed a little deeper just to try and get that seed down to good moisture," Terpstra said.

Siebrecht has had other challenges arise, mainly with spraying the fields.

"Mother nature hasn't made spraying easy this year," Siebrecht said. "We have had issues with the sprayer which didn't allow us to spray on some days when it was fit to spray which put us behind and forced us to spray in less than ideal conditions. There were many days that the wind was just too strong to spray."

Looking toward the coming months and harvest in the fall, keeping moisture in the ground will continue to be vitally important for the acres of fields supplying the nation's and world's food right here in central Iowa. Both farmers are optimistic for their crops and the yields they will produce.

"The outlook for the rest of the season will be very timely rainfalls. Everything is looking good in this area right now after the recent rains but we will be going through some critical times in the next couple weeks as the corn begins to tassel and pollination begins. August will be very crucial as well as beans will need moisture once they start setting and filling out pods and also getting grain fill on the corn," Terpstra said. "I'm hoping for a great harvest this fall and that everything goes smoothly for everyone."

Siebrecht is staying busy getting calves worked and completing the second cutting of hay along with building some fence and putting up a hoop building. He, too, is counting on continued rain throughout the coming months to keep the harvest outlook positive.

"Our soil moisture is still below normal, my fear is if we have a hot and dry July our signs of drought will come back and our yields will more than likely come down," Siebrecht said. "If you can catch a few more timely rains, I believe we will have above average yields."

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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