Kruse and Taylor to speak at Farm News Ag show

Crop weather outlook for 2020

Back by popular demand, Elwynn Taylor, Iowa State University Extension climatologist and professor of agronomy emeritus will be speaking at the Farm News Ag show on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 8:30 a.m.

Taylor will be presenting a “crop weather outlook for 2020.”

Taylor said the climate cycle is not as clear-cut as the seasonal, summer/winter cycles, however it does exist.

“The worst years for Midwest crops during the 1900s was the 1930’s Dust Bowl,” he said. “The early farmers of Iowa and Illinois made note of the terrible crop years around 1847. The study of tree growth rings demonstrates a cyclic climatic associated with historic Dust Bowl years. As experienced in the Midwest extreme conditions for crops in the 1847 and 1936 periods, we anticipate that crop weather may very well be adverse in the years proceeding and/or immediately following 2025.”

According to Taylor, weather extremes impact Corn Belt agriculture beyond the threat of drought. Extreme winters include the “open winters” with winter dust storms and the associated wind erosion of barren fields as well as the harsh and long winters that historically had farmers excavating under-snow tunnels from home-to-barn.

The affect of the weather on producer’s crops is what eventually led to the protection of federal crop insurance.

“The drive behind federal crop insurance was and is to give some assurance that those who produce the abundant crops will be able to endure flood and drought and even pest out-breaks associated with abnormally extreme seasons,” he said.

So what can producers expect leading into 2020 and beyond?

“There is no forecast that either drought or inundation will be increasingly common during the next several years. Still to be forewarned is to be for-armed,” he said.

The weather impacting the 2020 growing seasons began in October 2019.

Elwynn Taylor

Taylor is a student of adaptation to climate. He did his doctoral work at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St Louis, MO. His work has taken him to the major climate zones of the planet and he directed studies conducted on Skylab and other space vehicles. Any person interested in the nature of climate and how plants and animals adapt will find his work of benefit. His clear explanations, of the workings of frost protection to the avoidance of heat exhaustion, to El Nino (and how it influences the Midwest), will open new levels of understanding our enigmatic environment. He is the climatologist that served on the committee to develop the revised USDA Winter Hardiness Map. He is Iowa State University Extension Climatologist and Professor of Agronomy Emeritus.


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