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Heat Stressing Crops

June 27, 2012, 7:40 AM by Austin Hoffman

Heat Stressing Crops

Last fall and winter were some of the driest on record.  It dealt farmers a bad hand before the growing season even started. And now that it's underway, things haven't gotten much better.

At this time last year, much of South Dakota was underwater and what a difference one year can make.  Now, many farmers are hoping for a visit from Mother Nature.

"As a farmer, you live by the weather; that's just part of life," Beresford farmer Allen Andrews said.

Andrews has been working his 2,500 acres for about 30 years. He said this fall and winter were some of the driest he remembers. It's dry now and he said the critical growing period is just around the corner.

"These next two weeks, ten days, we're gonna start tasseling in certain areas. Our water uptake really increases; right now, we're kinda getting by day to day," Andrews said.

It's the time when corn needs the most moisture, something that's not in the forecast.

"According to the agronomist, from about the time it starts tasseling from the time the ear is set, it takes about .35 a day is what they told us, which is a lot of water and right now, we have very little subsoil moisture so the time it rains is going to be key to our success for the year," Andrews said.

If the rains don't come, things are only bound to get worse.  Andrews said some farmers will be better off than others depending on the financial situation they're in. But for many, it comes down to what falls from the sky.

"If it rains, you get good crops. If doesn't rain, you don't. You do the best you can.  Get it in the ground in a timely manner and let Mother Nature take its course," Andrews said.

Andrews said that early in the morning crops don't look too bad because they get a break from the heat overnight. But by the late afternoon, you'll notice that they start to shrivel up.

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