Crops threatened by dry weather, Michigan farmers worried about yield, prices

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:07 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The dry weather and heat might be nice for people who want to spend time outside, but the lack of rain might have us paying more down the road at the grocery store.

Related: Michigan’s hot weather increases risk of danger for kids, pets

The hot dry weather is not good for crops. One Eaton County farmer said if the rain doesn’t fall soon, he might have to consider replanting.

“We are one of the driest Mays we have had on record, over the last 100-plus years,” said Theresa Sisung, with the Michigan Farm Bureau. “My concerns right now are for some of the early planted crops. We need to get them up and out of the ground.”

Sisung said the dry weather is concerning but manageable, and if the lack of rain continues, crops could be impacted.

“It could be a big problem, and it is really dependent on crops too. So for wheat, it is a bigger problem then it is for corn and soybean,” Sisung said. “For corn and soybean, if we are dry all summer and we get dry in that flowering and grain fill period, that is when it is really really concerning.”

Brett Roberts, a farmer in Eaton County, said his soybeans have not yet emerged from the ground.

“It is very dry, this field in this current area. We haven’t planted this yet, but the rest of the field is planted,” Roberts said. “Those seeds are trying to germinate. They have not emerged yet, it’s been in the ground for about two weeks now.”

He said ideal conditions would be an inch of rain per week.

“We are waiting to see what stands will be established. Then we will go back and count those stands, and we will see if the dry weather affected how many plants made it out of the ground and emerged,” Roberts said. “If the count is too low, we will have to consider replanting, depending on when that occurs as far as timing goes.”

He said many places, like his farm in Eaton County, don’t have irrigation and rain is the only source of water. With temperatures reaching upwards of 90 degrees, he’s hoping for a few rain clouds.

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