Dry conditions threatening farmers’ crops

Dry conditions threatening farmer’s crops
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 6:39 PM CDT
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VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WFIE) - Farmers who have seeds in the ground are hoping there’s enough moisture in the ground to avoid replanting.

There is no sign of the heat letting up entering the first weekend of June, and it’s been weeks since the last substantial rain.

Farmers who are still planting or haven’t started, are at the mercy of Mother Nature.

“Pretty much everything we do depends on weather,” said Ben Kron, a farmer on the north side of Vanderburgh Co. “You can go out and plant it but you don’t know what’s gonna happen in two months.”

Ben’s father Randy is the president of the Indiana Farm Bureau. He still makes time to get back to his farm. With 40 harvests under his belt, he knows no two years are the same.

“Right now it looks like a challenging year,” Randy said. “You never know what you’re gonna get but the last three weeks have been extremely dry.”

The lack of rain and high temperatures are threatening the Kron’s crop yield. They started planting in April, but for those still putting seeds in the ground, it may be too dry for the roots to find water.

“The leaves are rolling up and as it gets drier,” Randy said when examining a nearby corn field. “You’re going to see that a lot more.”

Randy says the dry weather and the heat is a lot harder on the corn than it is on beans. That’s because corn is a lot more sensitive to heat and beans, which can go a lot longer without water.

“The window on planting corn is closing pretty quick here,” Randy said. “Beans you can plant for maybe another month, but generally the later planted stuff is not gonna yield like the early April corn or soybeans will.”

And that’s the concern. If rain doesn’t come soon, the crops could dry up, forcing farmers to pay extra for early irrigation, cut profits by relying on insurance or replant altogether.

Any option that doesn’t include substantial rain will be costly.

“Every day you’re later costs you at the end,” Ben said.

Farmers say they’re not ready to throw up any red flags just yet, but Randy says this summer is starting out a whole lot like the one back in 2012, which he says was the worst drought and crop yield he’s ever seen.

Still, Ben says one good rain in the next week or two could change everything for farmers.