Siouxland farmer worried about dry, hot conditions

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 3:03 PM CDT
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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NE (KTIV) - Heat, drought and extreme weather create a risky trifecta for Siouxland farmers.

“There have been a lot of weather extremes this year. We’ve had a lot of extreme heat, a lot of wind early on in the spring, and heat. And then now, you know, we’re looking at temperatures that are well above average and a major rainfall deficit, which is really starting to take a toll on the crops,” said Taylor Nelson, a South Sioux City, NE farmer.

Nelson planted his soybeans and corn back in the spring with the hopes of wetter weather. So far this summer, mother nature hasn’t provided much relief.

“We’re in the middle of pollination and green fill on the corn and pod fill on the beans. And so you know, right now, every day that we’re going without some precipitation or some heat relief, we’re just trimming yields, you know, a little bit more,” said Nelson.

Nelson is now relying on irrigation where he can, but even that can’t bring widespread aid to his acres of grain.

“We try to plant the best hybrids that we can that can tolerate drought stress. So there’s some planning that goes into that. But you know, outside of that, you know, you can do is hope for more precipitation,” said Nelson.

In a typical year, harvesting would start in late September for Nelson. If this hot, dry weather persists, the harvest will come sooner than hoped.

Nelson says the dry, windy winter didn’t help conditions either. He points out that while Siouxland is struggling with drought conditions, that isn’t the same story for every American farmer.

“Even though we’re experiencing this dryness locally, you know, there’s a lot of areas of the country that grow corn and grow crops that, you know, have better weather and so just because we’re going to be short crop doesn’t mean that the markets are necessarily reacting that way,” said Nelson. “We’re experiencing extreme market volatility, and actually some softness in the markets, which is not what we want to be seen with, you know, conditions being what they are.”

Data shows this is the driest period (April 1-July 31, 2022) on record, with just 6.63″ of rain so far. The 30-year average for Sioux City by this time of year is 14.24″.

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