Farmers Facing Challenges With Bad Weather; Tariffs

Tue 6-4-2019

(Undated)-- The U.S. is coming off the wettest 12 months on record, and Iowa farmers are being encouraged to boost conservation practices to help them adapt. Too much rain has kept many farmers out of their fields this spring, at a time when U.S. farm income is already projected to drop 45 percent below a 2013 high. Agronomy professor Gene Takle with Iowa State University says Iowa's weather is significantly affected by the Gulf of Mexico jet stream, which will continue to bring excess moisture to Iowa for the foreseeable future...Rain & Farming Woes01 

"Physics is very clear that this jet is getting stronger, and so it's a natural consequence that our climate in the Midwest should be linked to increasing rainfall."

Kayla Bergman, Rural Affairs policy associate, says preventative measures such as cover crops can provide a work-around and improve soil health to better hold the moisture...Rain & Farming Woes02 

"If you do not hay or graze that cover crop this year, so that the soil is not washing away throughout the rest of the spring and summer, even though it's not a cash crop, you just have something on the ground."

The federal government has promised financial aid to farmers harmed by the trade disputes, but to qualify they had to plant a crop. Takle says that puts many between a rock and a hard place...Rain & Farming Woes03

"Not only will be whether they should plant corn or soybeans because the markets are fluctuating on the basis of the tariffs, but then if they get a supplemental payment they might plant for the wrong reason-they might plant for the rebate-and that's not good farming, and they don't like that either." 

To date, corn planting is 68-percent complete in contrast to 97 percent at this time last year; while only 40-percent of soybeans are planted compared to 87-percent this time a year ago.

(Courtesy Iowa News Service).