(Radio Iowa) – Last year at this time, many Iowans were enjoying locally grown sweet corn. That’s not the case this year. Terry Basol is a field agronomist with Iowa State University Extension.
“This is like 180-degrees opposite of what it was like last year,” Basol says.
In 2012, thanks to abnormally hot temperatures, farmers were able to plant many of their crops, including sweet corn, in March. This year, record rainfall delayed planting and in some areas, farmers weren’t able to get all of their crops in the ground.
That means Iowans may not be able to eat locally grown sweet corn on the Fourth of July. Basol says some growers may have planted sweet corn during a brief dry stretch in May, so those growers might have sweet corn available by the holiday.
In addition to the late start to planting, Basol says growing conditions have been less than ideal. Many Iowa farm fields have erosion from heavy downpours.
“We’ve also seen saturated field conditions where the corn above the tile line is doing okay, but in between the tile lines, the soil is saturated enough that we have a lot less stand than we’d like to have,” Basol says. There are also low lying areas of fields where crops have been in standing water and may not survive.
Basol says there’s a bit of good news — when it does become available, Iowa sweet corn should be in good supply late into the season