SOIL AT RISK: Iowa’s priceless, fertile soil is at higher risk for wind and water erosion because of its extreme, drought-ravaged state. Expected rainfall over the weekend isn’t anywhere enough to offset the yearlong shortfall that has dried up the topsoil and subsoil moisture levels. The drought also has allowed an earlier harvest. However, we hope farmers and other landowners heed the advice of state natural resources and agronomy experts, who last week warned that the soil needs a rest. The common practices of fall tillage and nitrogen fertilizer applications should be avoided, they recommend. Wait until spring. The delay also allows earthworms and microorganizisms to improve the tilth and fertility of the soil, while leaving crop residue in place longer helps preserve moisture and stop erosion.
COSTING MORE: Three of four low bids for Cedar Rapids’ new $36 million public works building — one of the city’s last major post-flood construction projects — totaled $1.73 million higher than the city’s pre-bid estimates. The City Council approved them, as well the fourth bid, which was $151,000 lower than estimated. The higher cost overall must be covered by city funds.n Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 398-8262