How cool temperatures and rain affected Iowa’s 2009 growing season

Rich Pope, Program Specialist at the Iowa State University Extension (ISU) Department of Plant Pathology recently provided a recap of the unusual temperatures and rainfall that affected Iowa’s 2009 growing season.

Temperatures in July, August and October were very cold compared with historical records, Pope said. July ranked the coldest July on record, while October ranked in the coldest five. The cold temperatures were consistent throughout Iowa, with northwest and central Iowa faring only slightly better than the remainder of the state.

While most of Iowa saw average rain fall, east central and southeast Iowa saw above average rain from July forward. There were exceptions with summer thunderstorms that brought heavy rain to small areas, Pope noted. Two of these storms brought devastating hail that destroyed crops as well as causing additional damage. The first storm occurred July 24, making its way from Calmar in Winnesheik County to Western Dubuque. The second storm was incredibly strong, stripping crops from Ida to Grundy County, causing particularly intense damage in Hardin County near Eldora and Callendar in Webster and Calhoun Counties. ISU researchers have been analyzing damaged ears from these areas for ear rots and potential mycotoxin formation.

To read more and view pictures taken by NASA of the damaged areas, click here.