spring

The wet spring weather that flooded Iowa rivers and hampered the planting of crops follows trends noted in last year’s National Climate Assessment, said an Iowa State University agronomist who studies climate.

The 2018 National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated report issued every four years, detailed a number of trends relevant to the Midwest when it was released last November. A national team of climate experts produced the assessment, drawing on the most recent climate science to describe how global climate change could affect human and societal welfare.

Stubbornly cold temperatures and winter storms affecting much of Iowa this spring shouldn’t cause undue alarm for farmers anxious to begin planting, according to an Iowa State University agronomist. At least, not for a few more days.

Mark Licht, an assistant professor of agronomy, said Iowa farmers can scale up their planting in a hurry, planting between 1 and 1.5 million acres a day across the state when operating at full capacity. That means there’s still time for most farmers to get virtually all of their corn and soybeans planted before the optimal window closes for each crop, Licht said, even with this month’s temperatures freezing farmers out of their fields.

“In another week, I start to get a little more concerned, though.”

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