Iowa’s agriculture is losing its Goldilocks climate

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Date
2020-02-01
Authors
Gutowski, William
Takle, Eugene
Gutowski, William
Takle, Eugene
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Agronomy
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AgronomyGeological and Atmospheric Sciences
Abstract

The Iowa landscape is endowed with rich, deep, dark soils that have high water-holding capacity. Because most of the state’s land is flat or gently rolling, agriculture can be practiced with large, efficient machinery. Historically, Iowa’s average climate is characterized by a growing season of about five to six months with favorable sunshine and warm temperatures. Its crop-dormant season has low enough temperatures to prevent overwintering of detrimental pests and pathogens. The seasonal cycle of precipitation has a spring–summer maximum and a winter minimum that generally provide a sufficient and timely supply of water to support high crop densities without the need for irrigation.

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This article is published as Takle, Eugene S, and William J. Gutowski, Jr., 2020: Iowa’s agriculture is losing its Goldilocks climate. Physics Today 73, 2, 26-33. doi:10.1063/PT.3.4407. Posted with permission.

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