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Bumper crops forecast in Iowa, despite bumpy ride with weather
JOHNSTON --- Iowa and the country could be headed for record corn yields, despite uneven weather throughout the year, state agriculture and climate experts said Friday.
Iowa corn is forecast at 2.5 billion bushels, averaging 201 bushels an acre, which is an increase of 24 bushels per acre over last year, according to the latest information from the federal agriculture department.
“It seems to be getting bigger every time we look at it. When we’re looking nationwide, you’re talking about the largest production we’ve ever seen,” Chad Hart, a professor of agriculture economics, said Friday during taping for this weekend’s episode of “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS. “So we are talking massive corn crop.”
Hart said soybeans appear headed for similarly big yields. Soybeans in Iowa are forecast at 611 million bushes at an average of 61 bushels per acre, up 7 bushels per acre from last year, according to federal information.
And this impending bumper crop is on its way despite a year that saw severe drought conditions throughout much of Iowa for much of the summer, then persistent rains that led to one of the wettest Octobers on record.
“It has been a roller coaster,” Justin Glisan, the state climatologist, said during Friday’s taping. “We have been in a structural drought since May of 2020. And we’ve had ebb and flow, we’ve had heat waves, we’ve had cold weather outbreaks, we’ve had very dry conditions …
“So it is remarkable that we had the 10th-wettest October on record, really supplied us with additional subsoil moisture for next growing season. But those timely rainfalls during the growing season really held the crop on and … the yields look great.”
Hart said the proliferation of hybrid corn options has helped protect crops from the kind of fluctuating weather that Iowa experienced this year.
“What we have done over the past 40, 50, 60 years with these hybrids is we have developed hybrids that are more tolerant of a wider range of weather conditions, and those changes are definitely paying off as we look out there,” Hart said.
“Iowa Press” airs on Iowa PBS at 7 p.m. Fridays and noon on Sundays, and can be viewed online at iowapbs.org.