Field of Dreams weathering the drought - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Field of Dreams weathering the drought

The grass at the Field of Dreams is watered nightly by an irrigation system The grass at the Field of Dreams is watered nightly by an irrigation system

The grass at the Field of Dreams looks like something out of, well, a dream, but the corn beyond the outfield isn't faring so well.

John Haase is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. On Sunday, he said the thunderstorms in this week's forecast probably won't put much of a dent in the precipitation deficit. In Dubuque, for example, he said there'd normally be 20.21 inches of rain so far this year. In actuality, the key city has only seen 12.38 inches: a 7.83-inch deficit. That situation mirrors the rest of Iowa.

The corn stalks immediately surrounding the Field of Dreams in Dyersville look vibrant and tall, even if the stalks growing behind them aren't doing as well.

Becky and Don Lansing currently own the Field of Dreams, though they plan on closing on a deal to sell it later this year.

"The ballfield and most of the public areas are irrigated," Becky Lansing said Sunday at the field. "We do have pop-up sprinklers that do come on about 6 o'clock each evening."

She said the corn around the outfield is benefiting from the grass irrigation system, plus a nearby creek.

The field, however, is no stranger to dry conditions. The movie "The Field of Dreams" was filmed there during the summer of 1988, Iowa's last major drought.

"Back in those days, when the movie was being made, the corn wasn't growing then either. There was some very serious issues," Lansing said. "What they began to do was trucking in water from the Mississippi River, and when that bill got to be a little too cost prohibitive, they decided to work with a couple state agencies in damming up the creek that runs through the property."

Incidentally, she said damming the creek worked so well that the corn grew higher than anybody anticipated. In the opening scene of the movie, when Kevin Costner is walking through his cornfield, Lansing said, the actor is actually walking on an unseen 12-inch-high platform because the corn grew so tall.

This year, however, without Hollywood's help, the land, which the Lansings rent out to farmers, has felt this year's drought along with the rest of Iowa.

Matt Heitz farms 300 acres of corn in Dubuque County, between Epworth and Farley.

"This drought is getting extremely serious," he said. "When you get to about the middle of July, you always hope that, if possible, we get a rain that goes through and sometimes we can take a pretty desperate situation and turn it around, but this year, that's not the case."

If drought conditions persist, Heitz said, Iowa corn farmers may be looking at half the yield they'd normally expect. Already, corn stalks' leaves are curling and turning brown under heat and moisture stress.

"If we got timely rain soon, it would make the best of a bad situation," Heitz said. "It's not going to correct the whole problem, but it will make things a lot better."

Haase, at the National Weather Service, said about 60 percent of the country is now in at least a moderate drought. He said America hasn't seen a drought this widespread since 1956.

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