Farmers struggle with lack of rain during hot, humid summer

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s been a hot and very dry summer. According to the National Drought Monitor, most of the state is facing abnormally dry conditions.

Some rainfall today and Friday is better than nothing but local farmers tell 6 news at this point it’s literally just a drop in the bucket.

“It’s been a season of extremes,” Local Lansing farmer Robert Reese stated.

Reese’s family has been in the farming business for more than 70 years. They’ve seen all types of weather but this summer has been a tough one as hot and dry conditions have been the norm.

“These last couple weeks we’ve gotten a little bit of rain but we’re back to extreme drought again,” Reese said.

“We’re at the point where we just need some precipitation so we’ll take it even if it comes in in different forms we really just need some rain,” Field Crop Specialist at the Michigan Farm Bureau Kate Krepps said.

She says farmers across Michigan are struggling.

According to Krepps and Reese, crops like corn and soybeans ideally need a half inch to an inch of rain every week to thrive and this summer that hasn’t happened.

“It takes water to make sweet, sweet corn and that’s what people like so with lack of water it can start to hurt the quality of sweet corn,” said Reese.

“Corn a lot of it is in the stage of growth where it needs a lot of moisture to be able to form those kernels that we’re looking for,” Krepps stated.

This season, Reese planted 35,000 seeds per acre of corn and because of the lack of water, he says the stalks aren’t where they should be at this point in height.

“The sweet corns and field corns have seen a lot…the ears are much smaller than average,” Reese stated.

But he says there’s still hope for his soybeans.

“If you have rain in August you usually have decent soybeans so up until now I’ve been thinking we were going to have very decent soybeans,” he said.

Reese also says the greener the crop, the better so even with rainfall the last two days he’s still hoping for more.

“Some rain is better than nothing…a nice slow soaker is ideal but at this point we are so dry we’d take anything,” said Reese.

And of course apples are growing this summer as the fall season draws near. The owner of one local orchard told 6 News while they definitely could stand to see more rain, they are working overtime to water their trees so they aren’t affected.

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