Dry, cool weather creates challenges for corn farmers
The dry weather northern Michigan has seen this summer may be nice for summer activities, but unfortunately it has hurt several local farmers.
â??I have a hard time believing weâ??ll ever be able to control Mother Nature so weâ??ll always play this game,â?? said Long Acre Farms owner Matt Breithaupt.
Breithaupt is a farmer in Buckley who said he got lucky this year. He planted his corn later, which helped him avoid the loss many farmers saw from the dry summer.
â??We're a little further behind than others in the pollinating process and I believe that we're going to weather the moisture part of the storm alright,â?? said Breithaupt
Traverse City city had almost two inches less of rain than last summer, and the sandy soil in northern Michigan doesn't hold moisture.
â??In July we did start to get a little bit dry and part of the challenge there is that that's the point at which the corn is trying to pollinate and it really needs that moisture to be able to do that affectively,â?? said James DeDecker, an field crop educator at the MSU extension in Presque Ilse County.
Timing is vital, so the farmers who needed rain during that dry spell may have lost a lot of their crop.
â??I do know guys that they've already decided that they're not going to have much of a profit," said Breithaupt. "They don't have any ears or pollination."
Heat has also been a problem this year, the temperature hasn't gotten warm enough for good growth, and going into fall, it could be a problem.
â??We've got a crop that had a late start, and now it's not getting the heat it needs to really progress on time so there's a chance that it won't be able to mature and then be harvested before freezing weather or a hard frost,â?? said DeDecker.
â??If we can keep a really good consistent warm temperature, the muggy weather we have right now, thatâ??s coming in this weekend, that will really help,â?? said Breithaupt.
Breithupt said he will likely make a small profit off of his corn crop this year, but in famers in Leelanau County said they'll unfortunately need to use their crop insurance.