Dry spells could affect fall harvest

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COLUMBIA – With fall just days away, farmers preparing to harvest have been met with an uncommonly dry period of weather.

Columbia experienced its driest summer in three years, amassing a total of 11.21 inches, according to the National Weather Service’s website. MU South Farms Director of Field Operations Tim Reinbott said the summer’s dry spells have raised some concerns for a portion of his soybean crop.

“When we have a dry spell, this is when we can lose a lot of yield,” Reinbott said. “We may still have the number of seeds, but they would be like little-bitty bb’s.”

However, potential remnants of Hurricane Irma and isolated storms could impact Missouri this week, and the rain could help the upcoming harvest, according to Reinbott.

“The late planted soy beans… [Rain] can actually help a little bit,” Reinbott added. “My big worry on the heavy rain is the winds.”

Winds are a particular concern moving forward for a delicate corn crop, which was already affected by dry spells this summer, according to Reinbott.

“If we have thunderstorms, our corn is in danger,” Reinbott said. “[Corn] is the most brittle of the year, now, if we have a big storm, it can break the corn over.”

Nevertheless, Reinbott is still set to harvest some of his crop within the week, barring any significant rain or wind damage from storms, and thus far, he said the crop is looking manageable.

“This is going to be overall an excellent year for soybeans.” Reinbott said. “Corn, I think it’s going to fool us and not be as good as we think it is. We had those dry spells in June, and at the very tail end of the filling it got dry on us.”

A dry summer is bringing in a wet finish, and the future of the harvest at South Farms depends on just how severe this weather will be.