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Crops showing drought stress

Crops showing drought stress

Corn is curling and soybeans are short, one farmer said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Some crop fields around the U.S. are starting to show signs of drought stress.

“The corn looks like a pineapple field, it’s curled up super tight,” Kristin Oberbroeckling told “And the soybeans are terribly short and don’t have enough moisture to grow.”

Oberbroeckling and her husband Ryan farm in Garnavillo, Iowa in Clayton County.

Their fields received almost two inches of rain on Father’s Day. But that was the first rainfall in quite some time.

“Before that rain it was close to two months before we got any rain,” Oberbroeckling said. “We’ve never been this dry. Mother Nature is key to our crop’s success but it’s out of our hands and it is what it is.”

The Oberbroecklings aren't the only Iowa producers experiencing drought.

The levels of dryness depend on the location within the state, said Scott Nelson, an agronomist with the Iowa Soybean Association.

"Parts of Iowa are under moderate to severe drought," he told "Some parts got an inch of rain but that's not enough to make up the deficit we're facing."

Areas of the state did receive rain yesterday, but along with it came hail.

"Some parts of Iowa got eight inches of hail," Nelson said. "It just destroyed fields."

The drought is having indirect affects on crops as well.

Insect pressure and herbicide drift are prevalent because of the dry weather, Nelson said.

"Rootworms are showing up and there's nothing you can really do once they start feeding," he said. "There aren't any insecticide labeled to be applied at this time of year. We're also seeing instances where corn herbicides carryover from last year and are affecting soybean crops."

Conditions were dry at planting time as well.

The Oberbroecklings changed planting depth to ensure the seeds could access moisture.

“For corn I think we were planting two-and-a-half inches deep,” Kristin said. “It was so dry we bent the frame on our planter trying to get enough down pressure to put the seed in. And then I talk to my friends in Tennessee and they can’t get the crop in because it’s too wet. We’re all going through something.

These dry conditions have resulted in the farm family making financial changes in the short-term.

The couple will scale back their farm payment schedule and how they market grain, Oberbroeckling said.

“I think we’re only going to market half or a little less than half,” she said. “And (Ryan) suggested not making any farm payments ahead.”

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