The Dry Heatwave is Taking a Toll On Field Crops

The heat and dry weather across the state is a welcome change from last years wet, cool growing season for farmers. But now it’s going on a little too long.

When looking for which crops are stressing the most, it all comes down to when they are going to be harvested.

Wheat is about two weeks away and it is not going to have that weight, density and the price on the market.Crops In Heat Pic

Corn and soy beans are not going to be harvested until later in the fall—but right now is a crucial time for corn to gain that moisture to really develop how big their ears are going to get.

Farmer Randy Recker says, “it’s kind of critical that we get some rain for them pretty soon.”

As the summer began, the wheat crop was cruising.

“Two weeks ago, we would’ve thought wheat was going to be really nice,” Recker says. “It was maturing very nicely.”

Until a week of 90 degree temperatures and no rain stunted the growth.

“You don’t get the starches in the grain and then the grain, the kernels themselves are small and then the test weights are light,” Recker says. “Then they start docking us.”

That means a possible 20% price cut for farmers. As for soy beans and corn, they still have some time, but every day like this is more dangerous.

“Eighty (degrees) is probably when corn starts to shut down, maybe soybeans can go a little warmer than that,” Recker says. “They don’t like it super hot, just like the rest of us. They kind of wilt.”

Some farmers have expensive irrigation systems, but not many. They are more common in small fruit growers but even then, they can only do so much.

“There is a worry if it gets too, too hot,” says Mark Young of Young Farms, a blueberry grower. “What’s a good thing is we’re having cool nights, which is helping the berries recover a little bit.”