Drought-Like Conditions Worry Farmers

By: A.J. Hilton Email
By: A.J. Hilton Email

"We haven't had measurable rain here in three weeks," said Elsie corn farmer Steve Miller.

Miller, like other farmers is starting to worry. Miller got a late jump on planting his corn because of the wet weather in May. A month later-- he's hoping for rain. The heat is drying out his corn crops.

"When the grass isn't growing very much, it's a pretty good indication of what crops are going through," Miller said. "If the grass can't grow, then the crops can't grow."

Ears of corn are starting to curl on Miller's farm. The curling of the husks of corn act as a defensive mechanism. The corn curls to shield itself from the sun.

"Will you see a total catastrophe? It depends on the next couple of weeks," says Kevin Shelle from Michigan State University's East Lansing Field Research Facility. "The main thing is you'll see yield effects in the fall."

With no rain the last few weeks, it's actually been showers from April and May that have provided the life line for some area crops in Mid-Michigan.

"Either it's way too wet, or it's way too dry," said Shelle. "There's no medium happy ground. A farmer never gets exactly what he wants."

Miller says the heat is great, but just like everything-- only in moderation.

"If we can get three quarters of an inch of rain out of this rain coming through tonight, you know that ties us over for another week or two."

For now Miller will have to play the waiting game, and hope the showers from April and May will hold his crops over.


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