Idaho Heat Wave Could Hurt Barley, Other Crops

July 4, 2015 08:00 AM
 
Idaho Heat Wave Could Hurt Barley, Other Crops

Agricultural experts say the Idaho current heat wave could hurt the state's crops.

Temperatures reached over 100 degrees this past weekend, The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported . The highs are expected to be 96 degrees in Moscow and Pullman on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

"There isn't a strong indication of cooling," said Nick Loyd, a meteorologist at Washington State University. "These conditions are almost unprecedented."

Washington State University regional specialist with the agricultural program, Ryan Higgenbotham, says less moisture in the air can cause kernels to shrivel up. Barley could be sold at a discount, and growers may have to choose varieties of wheat that mature earlier, he said.

"Spring crops are going to see some injury," he said.

Extended periods of heat can reduce the yields of significant crops as well as the growing season for barley, wheat and canola. Barley grown in drought conditions will likely be sold at a discount because it is no longer as useful as a feed grain, Higgenbotham said.

Growers have had to fight continuous battles this year as a result of a warmer winter and a dryer-than-normal spring.

Idaho farmers are used to growing in dry conditions, but the added heat is just the latest complication, Doug Finkelnburg, a University of Idaho Extension educator, said. An El Nino is predicted for later this year —which will bring another warm winter and less snowfall, he said.

If your area is experiencing hot, dry weather, let us know what's going on by sending your photos and observations to AgWeb's Crop Comments.

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