Relieved by recent rainfall, farmers hope to escape extreme drought

Local farmers call stretch of rainfall key in salvaging this year’s harvest
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Despite another bout of dry weather in the forecast, local farmers are breathing a sigh relief, calling last week’s stretch of rainfall key in salvaging this year’s harvest.

“You see when you look at this here we would have to bring a quart jug of water a week ago, two weeks ago to do this,” said Don Brothers, as picked up a handful of soil beneath his soybean crop in Harrison County.

“From now until about Halloween if it doesn’t rain again I don’t think you’re going to find a farmer in the area who’s going to be disappointed,” said Brothers, noting It’s a much different story than just a few weeks ago.

“We were to a point where fall tillage would have been a question,” said Brothers. A few inches of rain last week helping a lot. “Three inches is enough that we’ll be able to ensure tillage and any fertilizer applications,” said Brothers, noting it’s not all good news.

“You get to a point like these brown beans are. It’s like premature death,” he said. “They’ve just run out runway, and their life is over so it could rain for 40 days and 40 nights and not be able to enhance your seed at all.”

“The rain may not have actually come at sufficient enough time to add bushels to their production,” said Sam Funk with the Iowa Farm Bureau. “But what it did was add moisture to their soil profile to get ready for the following year.”

Brothers is already eying the 2021 season, confident he’ll escape this year’s drought without too much loss.

“For what we went through, the hybrids and the genetics of today versus my father’s day,” he said. “It’s what’s keeping us in the game.”

Funk said the full impact of the drought won’t really be known until harvest season comes to an end; that’s when farmers start having a better sense of what might have been lost financially.

“There will be some who even after harvest come out with a lot less yield than expected and that’s detrimental to those farmers out there working to bring a crop in,” he said.

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