Heat is blanketing the Corn Belt this week during a key pollination time for crops. The latest drought monitor shows an Eastern Corn Belt under distress, with much of Iowa, Michigan and Ohio under abnormally dry conditions.
In Northwest Ohio, the saying “no two years are alike” is spot-on. Last year, farmers experienced a cool, wet growing season. Cut to 2016, and the crops are in need of precipitation.
“We’re getting just enough rain to get by,” says Kent Eddy, who farms near Grover Hill, Ohio. “Last year in certain areas, we had 20 inches of rain in June,” says Eddy.
This year, Eddy says his farms are running a water deficit of three to five inches since the first of April.
“If we would get timely rains, we could have a good crop,” Eddy says. “The end of this week is supposed to be 95 degrees. That’s going to take a lot out of it. We’re going to need another rain.”
But Eddy isn’t complaining just yet. He says the crops in his area are holding their own, despite the lack of rain.
“In the immediate area, it looks really good,” he says. “We probably have some of the best stands for corn and beans we’ve had for quite a while.”
That’s despite a rocky start. A big portion of the state experienced a cold, wet spring. Eddy even had to replant some of his corn acres because of it.
However, he says there are pockets surrounding him like this in worse shape.
“There are areas north of us that are pretty rough,” he says. “With the dry weather, it’s hard for them to catch up.”
Hot temperatures linger 60 miles to the northeast, where farmer Lonnie Perry says he’s short on rainfall. Even so, he says the 17 inches of precipitation that fell since the first of the year is helping the crop.
“It’s living on good subsoil moisture that we had from early,” Perry says. “If we dig up the plants, the roots are going down deep.”
Perry says he needs a good “ground soaker” to move the crop along during pollination, but his corn crop is holding promise. As for soybeans, Perry says some fields in the area may be delayed, some due to replanting.
“It’s going to be tricky harvest,” he says. “We are hoping we don’t have an early frost to get the rest of the beans up to maturity for harvest this fall.”
It's a new year and weather with a different outcome than last.
"They say a wet year will kill you and a dry year will scare you. So, I guess we'll take the dry year," says Perry.