Hot, dry weather threatens local crops

Posted at 8:21 AM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 08:21:32-04

Weeks and weeks of intense heat and not enough rain is a terrible recipe for a farmer.

"We're just not used to that 95 degrees heat in the month of May here, and it's shocked a lot of the transplants," farmer Andy Todosciuk, who owns Andy T's Farm in St. Johns, said.

He says the weather has hurt his pickles and tomatoes, but he's been able to keep his other crops looking good - for a price. "We've been pumping water on everything trying to keep it going good," he said.

Robert Reese grows corn, soy beans, and wheat and says the weather shouldn't impact fall prices, yet. "As of right now, the crops are hanging in there, but, if we go another week to two weeks, we're really going to start to see a reduction in yield," he said.

Michigan State University climatologist Jeff Andresen says the last two months in mid-Michigan have been within the top ten hottest and driest early summers on record.

"The last six weeks we've had a little over a half inch of rain, which is extremely low for us," Reese said. "Last year it was over 20 inches in June." Both farmers say if you want to save your own plants, nothing can replace lots and lots of water.

"You better start thinking about soaking the ground real well, we're not just talking hand watering, we're talking a good soak job," Todosciuk said. It's been dry for so long, even plants with deep roots are in danger of drying out.

"We're not panicking yet, there's really nothing you can do, it will rain sooner or later," Todosciuk said.