Hot Weather Takes Toll on Corn Crop

6 years 10 months 1 week ago Monday, August 15 2011 Aug 15, 2011 Monday, August 15, 2011 2:43:00 PM CDT August 15, 2011 in News
By: Ben Wagner

HARTSBURG - Extremely high temperatures this summer have taken a toll on corn crops across Missouri.

Corn growers estimate upwards of a 30 percent loss in their total yield this year. MU Plant Sciences professor Bill Wiebold said a combination of factors hit corn crops, including high rainfall in the spring and dry, hot temperatures during the summer months.

"The roots just couldn't keep up enough and so you see some scalded plants, dead leaves or the whole plant is dead," Wiebold said.

Wiebold said when temperatures are consistently hot, especially at night, crops don't ever grow to full size. He said farmers will really notice the loss when it comes time to harvest.

"Temperatures of over 100 degrees greatly increase the amount of water evaporation from the leaves," he said. "If there's not enough water there, then you have stress on those plants."

Hartsburg farmer Terry Hilgedick has been battling to protect his corn crops all summer. He said his crops have suffered from the soaring temperatures.

"Those 100 degree days followed by 80-plus degree nights is really tough on a corn plant," Hilgedick said.

Hilgedick has been farming in Hartsburg for more than 20 years. Along with high temperatures, his crops also suffer when Missouri River waters rise. His farm is right in the heart of the Missouri river valley.

"Wherever there's standing water, you don't have a crop," he said.

Hilgedick said this summer has been one of the worst in terms of crop production. He expects to lose nearly half of his total corn crop because of a combination of high temperatures and standing flood water.

"All in all, I'd say it's about a 60 percent crop," he said. So, much worse than usual."

Click here to see the full U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

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