Southeast Iowa drought has farmers concerned

Corn suffers in the drought conditions across southeast Iowa. (Chris Arbino/KTVO)

The lack of rain in southeast Iowa this summer has become a major concern for farmers.

Cities like Bloomfield and Ottumwa have recorded just under 2 inches of rain for June and July.

That puts the area about 8 inches below average for this time of the year, creating severe drought conditions for the region.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has held meetings around the area recently to help farmers address some of the issues they are facing due to the lack of rain.

Farmers from around Davis county brought their crops in Tuesday afternoon. Many of the crops are showing signs of disease and stunted growth, all related to the severe drought in southeastern Iowa.

The meetings Tuesday afternoon touched on what farmers should be looking for.

Most farmers, however, conceded that 2017 will not be a good year for corn.

Don Tharp, a farmer who lives just south of Bloomfield, said the drought is similar to 2012.

"It was that way in '12. We just got some rains in August and had a little beans in, we didn't have any corn," Tharp told KTVO.

Tharp told us that he's expecting a 75% reduction in corn harvested this year.

But farmers like Bob Lawson aren't overly concerned about any long term trends. Many accept that it's just part of the climate in Iowa.

"Every four to five years we have a dry weather pattern. Last year we were wet, we were dry early and then it rained, timely, and we had the best crops we've ever raised around here. So we are capable of doing that, just not this year," Lawson said.

Farmers who were unable to attend today still have an opportunity to attend meetings held tomorrow in Wayne and Mahaska counties.

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