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Above average rainfall raises crop concerns for Michigan farmers

Farmers say they are seeing damage to corn, alfalfa hay and wheat crops due to above average rainfall in the month of July.

MASON COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A wet and damp month for Northern Michigan has those who rely on mother nature’s cooperation concerned about their crops.

Farmers say they are seeing damage to corn, alfalfa hay and wheat crops.

“The heavy moisture, lots of moisture on these heavy soils certainly led to yellow corn and stunted corn growth and short corn because it didn’t have the ability to breathe,” said Seth Earl with Stakenas Farms Inc. “We’re losing yield every day.”

Farmers like Earl say the rain hurt their crops, but it’s also delayed hay harvest because the ground is too wet and farmers cannot get into the fields.

“We love rainfall, we need rainfall but we’ve just had access amounts this year and nobody can build a roof over a farm and keep the rain away,” said Jerry Lindquist. with Michigan State University Extension. “The main concern is poor crop growth for the corn, in the alfalfa it’s the decrease in seed quality because the crop is getting over mature and needed to be harvested a few weeks ago, and in the wheat crop, it’s actually crop damages because of sprouting and it’s going to lower the dollar value when [farmers] go to sell their wheat.”

Lindquist says that amount of rain could have a ripple affect as farmers use a portion of their crops to feed livestock.

“It actually increases the yield and the quantity, but it lowers the quality of feed so cows won’t milk as well on them and beef calves won’t grow as well when it’s fed to them this fall or winter,” Lindquist explained.

“It definitely has a direct impact on the quality of milk and then also the also the overall volume of milk per animal,” Earl said.

Earl says they are still assessing the damage but estimates the farm may have a 10-20 percent yield loss for their corn production.

Farmers say they are just praying for a dry week. That will not only help the crops but also allow them to get into the fields.

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