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Agronomist describes Highway 2 corridor as ‘garden spot’ of Iowa
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Agronomist describes Highway 2 corridor as ‘garden spot’ of Iowa

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HJ - Saeugling 2020 Harvest

Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Aaron Saeugling displays an ear of corn that was ready to harvest in Southwest Iowa. Saeugling described the Highway 2 corridor as the “garden spot” of the state for 2020 since the reset of Iowa has been confronted with the impacts of drought conditions and the derecho that hit the state in August. (photo provided)

“2020 is going to go down as a memorable cropping season for most farmers for a variety of reasons,” Iowa State University Extension field agronomist Aaron Saeugling said.

With harvest season underway for Iowa’s two prominent crops, corn and soybeans, Saeugling said Highway 34 formed a natural boundary for judging yields in western Iowa. North of Highway 34, Saeugling said farmers were confronted with drought like conditions.

Although farmers south of Highway 34 also faced slightly drier conditions than normal, Saeugling said the rainfall the region received came at consistent intervals throughout the growing season.

Since April, Saeugling said the Highway 2 corridor only fell four to five inches below the average rainfall totals for the area. As a result, he projected yields for Southwest Iowa to finish between good and above average.

“The Highway 2 corridor is probably the garden spot of the state this year. Farmers in that area are in a lot better shape than most of Iowa. There were two massive weather events this year with the drought in western and central Iowa and the derecho that hit the center part of the state. They have been outside both those issues this year,” Saeugling said.

Saeugling said he has seen acres upon acres of land in central Iowa that were destroyed by the derecho that hammered the state in August. Since there is nothing left of those fields to harvest, he said significant portion of Iowa would finish 2020 with below average yields.

Those two severe weather challenges are also creating fluctuations in the corn and soybean markets. Although the limited supply of commodities would normally increase prices, Saeugling said the demand is also not where farmers would like to see it.

Increased exports could help raise those prices, but the harsh weather conditions most of Iowa has faced this year will still take a financial toll on growers.

“Our production is going to be down as a whole for the state in 2020. People are probably going to see higher market prices, but they are not going to have as many bushels to sell. So it is going to hit most farmers in their income,” Saeugling said.

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