With apologies to my friends in the armed services who feel like every day is a SNAFU or FUBARed, the new normal for eastern Iowa is dry. As in worst drought since 1988. Or, if you are into the more historical approach, the worst drought since the 1950s. Or, if you are apocalyptic, the beginnings of the 21st century’s dust bowl. Needless to say, this is starting to get to people.
Rainstorms moved through the region last night brining some relief. The high winds took out some of my tomato plants, but that seemed a small price to pay for some general moisture. I am more concerned with making sure my trees are healthy enough to survive the winter than getting a few more tomatoes off the vine. Of course, my San Marzanos are suffering from blossom end rot so there was not a lot of yield.
Here is what the drought looks like at the regional level right now:
As you can see from the graphic, we have clicked over into extreme drought. The entire state of Iowa is considered to be in severe drought. At this point the drought is persistent enough that the season is lost and the hope is that a wet winter will allow for some recovery.
Take a look at the 12-week animation:
Notice the worsening of the drought from mid-June until now. It is one of those scary trends you see on a Discovery channel documentary right before the swarm of locusts devours the countryside.
The big question that remains right now is what impact will this have on the food supply and food prices. No one really knows quite yet because the commodities grown in Iowa are not direct foodstuffs. No one eats field corn or the varieties of soybeans grown here. These crops are turned into high fructose corn syrup or animal feed or industrial food products. I know one thing, between the recent drought in Texas and this year’s nationwide drought there is going to be a nice spike in the price of a porterhouse for those red meat lovers out there.