Iowa farmers talk drought worries, commodity prices as planting season gets underway.

All eyes are on Mother Nature in 2024 as Iowa’s farmers navigate the potential of a fourth year of record drought conditions heading into planting season, expected to ramp up this week.

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding current soil moisture available for planting crops as well as the probability of adequate rainfall during the growing season.

Iowa State Climatologist Justin Glisan said much of the state has seen only 70% to 80% of normal precipitation the last four years. Iowa is in its 199th week of drought conditions somewhere in the state. 

“What that’s saying is that a lot of (areas) across the state have missed out on a full year’s worth of precipitation,” Glisan explained. “So what are the yields going to look like if we get into a fourth and fifth year of this drought? How much rainfall are we going to get? Are we going to have those million-dollar rainfalls holding us on every seven to 10 days here or there like we’ve seen in 2021, 2022 and 2023?” 

Those are questions Iowa farmers have as planting hits full stride in the...