Dry Weather Dries Out Crops

1 decade 1 year 6 months ago Wednesday, August 08 2007 Aug 8, 2007 Wednesday, August 08, 2007 10:35:42 PM CDT August 08, 2007 in News

The heat not only makes you feel uncomfortable, but affects plant-life as well.

Just this week, the Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service released information saying there has been "significant decline in corn conditions."

Heat spells out trouble for farmers and potentially their pocket books. This time of the year is always stressful on plant life - the bright sun, the excessive heat - it is basically a plant's worst nightmare.

One farmer just west of Kingdom City says that statistics don't lie. This summer's scorching heat is making his job as a corn farmer tough.

"Right now, we've still got a little bit of hope, but the weatherman doesn't give us any hope so it's a little depressing," said farmer Fred Atkinson.

He has farmed his whole life.

He says in all that time, the past three summers have been some of the driest.

"It's just so hot that and dry that it's not allowing the kernels to fill on out so it looks like we're gonna have little old shriveled up kernels is about all we're gonna have in these fields this time,"Atkinson said. He says his corn simply needs more rain.

"If we don't get anymore rain they're just gonna get smaller because they're not gonna have any moisture to add to 'em, they're just gonna shrink and get smaller and smaller as they dry up," Atkinson said, and if those kernels dry up, he says he might be in trouble.

Trouble with his crop, and trouble in the pocketbook.

Agriculture experts agree. Three summers with little rain has lasting effects.

"It's a cumulative effect. And the longer it goes, the more detrimental it is and the less likely you'll have revival once you do get the rainfall," said MU Agriculture professor Randy Miles.

As much as Atkinson says he needs that rainfall, he says Mother Nature only offers what she can.

"Being a farmer, you live with that. We don't know what it's gonna be. We take our chances. Some years you have good years and some years you don't," said Atkinson.

In addition to the corn problems, experts say other crops like soybean and hay are also having problems. Rain in the next few days could help somewhat, but it needs to happen soon before all of the crops in our area reach the harvesting point.

Atkinson says he does have insurance to cover some of the costs on any of his losses.

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Columbia, MO
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