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(Des Moines) – May’s turbulent weather brought both good and bad news for farmers in KMAland.

On the positive side, Iowa has officially wiped drought off the map. On KMA’s “Morning Line” Thursday morning, Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said heavy rains last month ended a drought period of 204 consecutive weeks with at least D-1 drought conditions that began in June 2020.

“The good news is that there was significant precipitation,” Naig said, “and that’s exactly what we needed to get a better understanding of the drought. And today we don’t have a D-1 drought. We still have some areas – believe it or not – that are dry and could fall back into the drought category over the course of the summer, depending on how much rain falls. But that’s the good news in the equation.”

The bad news, Naig said, is that last month’s severe storms have led to an uneven planting season. He says farmers in northwest Iowa, for example, have been planting only sporadically.

“It’s put us behind the five-year average — well behind last year’s progress — and some people might say it’s a little bit like it used to be or normal,” he said. “We’ve definitely had a bit of a disjointed planting season, and in some places people are just getting ready. Unfortunately, we’re hearing about some replanting that’s happening because of these wet, wet conditions, maybe because some things were planted and then heavy rain came. So that’s created some challenges.”

Although topsoil moisture is considered adequate in most parts of the state, there is still severe drought below ground and aquifers still need water. Naig adds that some farmers in southwest Iowa are still dealing with damage from the tornadoes of the past two months.

“I had the opportunity when I was here in the Green Plains just last week and then was able to travel through Villisca and Adair County to see some of the storm damage again,” Naig said. “It’s devastating for some of these farm families that have lost buildings, equipment and homes. My heart goes out to them.”

Despite the recent rains, the state could still experience drought conditions, according to Naig. Listen to the full interview with Mike Naig here:

Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig comments on the current state of the crop in the wake of the severe storms in May and on recent reports of highly pathogenic bird flu in the state.


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