In Toledo, a total of just less than six-tenths of an inch of rainfall has fallen in July up to Saturday, July 21, according to Randy Cooper, official Weather Observer. The average for Toledo is 4.4 inches in July. Add in temperatures which have been consistently in the 90 degree range and that have topped 100 degrees and it adds up to serious problems for area farmers.
Rainfall has been sparse since spring in Central Iowa where averages include 3.3 inches in April, 4.4 inches in May and 4.6 inches in June.
More of the same is predicted for this week with chances of thunderstorms in the 30 percent range predicted by the National Weather Service.
The green leaves in the planter on the Tama County Courthouse Square in Toledo are in sharp contrast to the lawn behind in this view on Saturday, July 21. What is shaping up to be the driest summer on record in Central Iowa is affecting farm and garden crops, livestock and reflecting in retail food prices. Chronicle/John Speer
Without exception, long-time residents say they do not remember a hot, dry spell like this.
One farmer told The Chronicle on Friday rainfall would still "help fill out soybeans" but warned it is needed shortly.
At 4 p.m. Friday, July 20, corn prices were listed at $7.96 per bushel and soybeans were quoted at $16.86 in Chicago. Record prices for these commodities will mean higher prices for consumers.
Advice on garden watering
Toledo Farmers Market column
In The Toledo Chronicle 7-25-12
Scheduled to be posted on tamatoledonews.com: 7/27