How summer drought has impacted Siouxland orchards

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AKRON, Iowa (KCAU) — The dry summer heat is not just tough for Siouxlanders, but also farmers’ crops.

Siouxland has been in a drought for most of the summer and farmers are starting to feel the impact. Tony Heisterkamp, co-owner of Eden Valley Apple Orchard and Aronia Berry Farm said while the flavor of his fruits remains in tact, the size is impacted by the lack of rain.

“Some of the trees that did make it through late stage pollen, there’s tons of apples on, but they’re not normal size,” Heisterkamp said. “They’re smaller than what they would normally be, still good apples, but not as good as what they would’ve been with the moisture.”

Iowa State Extension Field Agronomist Joel DeJong says while last season was dry enough, this year has been much more challenging.

“We started this year in much of Northwest Iowa with less than normal water stored in the soil because we were marginal on rainfall during this growing season last year,” DeJong said. “So, we really were much more reliant on rainfall this year than we even were last year.”

While the drought has been problematic, Heisterkamp said at least the bugs have not been as bad this season during the dry weather.

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