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El Niño Weather Pattern to Bring Changes to Iowa's Climate and Agriculture
Iowa Ag Connection - 06/01/2023

El Niño weather pattern is expected to impact Iowa and bring significant changes to the Midwest climate, according to forecasters. Dennis Todey, director of USDA's Midwest Climate Hub, predicts that the El Niño pattern will emerge by the end of summer and continue throughout the fall and winter months. This shift from the previous La Niña pattern will result in different weather conditions for the region.

Currently, most weather stations in Iowa are reporting precipitation deficits of at least an inch, with the northeast and southwest regions slightly wetter. The cooler and drier weather has been beneficial for farmers, allowing them to make progress with planting activities.

Topsoil moisture conditions show deficits, with 5% rated as very short and 20% as short. Subsoil moisture is also below average, with 7% rated as very short and 25% as short. Despite some rainfall, Iowa has been mostly below normal for moisture since the start of the water year.

Iowa has been experiencing drought conditions since the summer of 2020. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows extreme drought in two counties, severe drought in parts of four counties, and moderate drought in portions of 35 counties. Furthermore, 64 counties are facing abnormally dry conditions.

Looking ahead, the El Niño pattern is expected to bring a more moderate summer, longer-term drought in some areas, and a moderate to good growing season for crops. With the majority of Iowa's corn crop already planted and emerging, and soybean planting ahead of schedule, farmers are taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions. Hay and pasture conditions are also reported as good to excellent.

The impact of the El Niño pattern on Iowa's climate and agricultural sector will be closely monitored as the transition progresses.

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