The Results are In

It’s official, July 2012 was the hottest month on record.  So, we have had the worst drought in fifty or so years and now the hottest month of record.  How do like me now Mr. Inhofe?

I anticipate the statistics regarding the drought will be better in my neck of the woods—eastern Iowa—because we have actually gotten some rain in the past week and relief from the high temperatures.  On Saturday an inch and a half of rain fell in less than two hours.  It’s too bad that rain could not have come over the course of a couple of days so that it would soak into the parched ground, but we will take whatever we can get.  The last couple of days have brought lower temperatures, light rain, and some fog.  It is sad when you almost cheer the sight of fog on an August morning.

Here is what the U.S. Drought Monitor has to say about the Midwest:

Things actually got worse for some parts of the state and others just stayed the same.  Even an inch and a half of rain cannot save us from this persistent drought.  How dry is it Iowa:

Again, the national map for the past twelve weeks is really scary:

One topic that the drought has brought up is our reliance on corn and soybeans across a broad swath of our agricultural complex.  Basically, we have a system that rewards farmers for producing crops that feed an industrial machine that is not resilient in the face of natural disaster.  Great.

However, the genetics of corn have been “improved” through breeding and other manipulation to be more tolerant of drought.  If this were 1988 the entire corn crop would have withered by now, but we are blessed with franken-corn.

All this talk about drought gets me thinking about how we use water.  How is water used in agriculture:



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