North-central Iowa crops maturing rapidly as drought continues

CLARION — The harvest season will likely start in northern Iowa within a week to ten days, according to Angie Rieck Hinz, a field agronomist at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

With the hot temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions we’ve had lately, she says the crops matured much more quickly than expected, and those dry conditions may lead to a much greater risk during the harvest.  “It’ll be a tough fall in terms of the opportunity for field fires, due not only to just the weather conditions, but the mechanics of our equipment out there,” she says. “Take some time to go through your safety tips with all your employees and your family members and have a game plan.”

As farmers prepare for the big job ahead, Rieck Hinz says they’d be wise to make a checklist, one that includes fire safety.  “We want to make sure our equipment’s in good working order,” Rieck Hinz says. “We want to make sure we’ve got a fully charged fire extinguisher in the cab of that combine and in our tractors with us, just as a reminder that that fire extinguisher is to get you out of the cab and safely away from that combine, not necessarily to save your combine.”

At least seven Iowa counties have active burn bans in place due to continued drought conditions, including: Buchanan, Delaware, Fayette, Greene, Grundy, Hancock, and Worth.