SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — With temperatures climbing into the 60’s and 70’s across Siouxland today and a good chance of rain expected this weekend, some farmers say 2022’s planting season is underway.

A new record low temperature was set earlier tuesday morning in Sioux City. The area hit just 19 degrees, breaking a 70-year weather record for today’s date.

Despite the cold start, the sun came out, the winds were unusually calm, and many farmers were able to begin planting work today, including Ben Brady who runs an operation near Marcus. He explained what the biggest challenge has been for crop producers so far this spring.

“This year with it being dry starting out, we are seeing a lot more wind erosion than normal, as I’m sure everyone can attest to,” said Brady, who serves as district conservationist for the USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service’s Plymouth County office.

Brady says to protect soil from eroding, he uses cover crops like oats and rye, depending on what the next year’s crop will be — either beans or corn.

“And we’ve seen some pretty good luck with that and on areas that we have some cattle, we can use the rye as like a grazing in the spring if there’s enough time…(so) income off that being able to have that free forage produced and it’s also scavenging the extra nitrogen we have in the soil which is in the future going to improve the water quality,” said Brady.

Brady says the high winds and dry heat have also increased the amount of tillage in Siouxland fields, so to improve nutrient levels and gain higher yields in years to come, farmers can implement strategies like no-till or reduced tillage.

“But ultimately just getting more residue out there is going to reduce any kind of erosion whether it be water erosion or wind erosion,” said Brady.

Brady says he would’ve liked to see soil temperatures a few degrees higher in Plymouth County when he put seed in the ground today, but that if the rains come on Friday, he says that will go a long way towards helping the early stages of growth.