There are many parts of Northern Michigan who haven’t seen significant rain in a month. That means the crops in the area aren’t getting a great start to the growing season.
About a month ago, when they started the planting process, farmers got their wish. They would like it dry while they are putting the seed in the ground but once it’s there, they want rain, and as of right they just have not gotten it.
It’s getting off to a rough start and now they’re just hoping that they can catch up and not get hurt later in the year.
“We’ve tried just about everything. First of all we’ve gone to church every Sunday,” said Abe Pasch, dairy farmer in Isabella County. “That usually does the trick.”
The prayers have been left on read so far. According to the Michigan State University weather station in Isabella County, the month of May saw about a quarter of an inch of rain, right when crops are looking to sprout and take root.
When asked at what point do you start to get worried, Abe said, “Two weeks ago.”
Pasch says he has never remembered a year where his grass was dry and burnt on June 1. He grows corn, soybeans, wheat and hay on his dairy farm.
“Hay and our wheat are probably the two most endangered crops right now. Just because they are in their harvest stage,” said Pasch, “The wheat is to the point where it’s filling out the heads, the kernels of wheat, and without that rain that crop just won’t produce like it normally does.”
The corn and soybeans are just sprouting so they don’t actually need a lot of water to grow. Pasch is more worried about the impact he may see later in the year, comparing the groundwater to having money in the bank.
“It’s nice to have some on reserve because traditionally we do get dry months in July and August,” said Pasch, “If it’s dry now and it dries up then, there won’t be any reserve moisture in the ground for the crops.”
It’s too early to tell the season-long impact of the dry spring but it won’t take long to see the pain if the rain doesn’t come soon.
“It’s kind of like a sporting event. If you have a bad first quarter, it doesn’t take you out of the game completely,” said Pasch. “But it certainly sets you back quite a ways.”