Our farm production editor Mike Raine is down in the U.S. Midwest documenting the drought situation.
Mike, as many of you know, is also one of the top photographers in the North American agricultural press, and these pix below are both a tragic tale of ruined crops, and beautiful visual images. I had Mike fire these to me last night, so here they are. (At the bottom I’ll include the comments he emailed me with the pix)
Here’s Mike’s email to me:
“Corn from Indiana and Ohio all show problems due to drought. The two on the right are very poor and will likely cause yields to fall well below 100 bushels in ares were 160 is the norm. The corn on the left looks relatively much better, until the farmer from Boston, Ohio says they typically see yields of 250 to 300 per acre and this will be less than 200 due to smaller cob sizes and mostly a single cob per plant. The majority of fields visited had areas where no cobs were present, plants were falling over half way up the stalk or where very small cobs were the norm.
Soybeans should be fully canopied in by now, but bare dirt is still showing, resulting in poor water holding capacity for the soil and new weed pressures. Plants would typically be 60 cm tall or more, nut most are just 25. There are exceptions, but mostly the soybeans are starting to flower with bare ground around them and farmers say less than 30 bushels is expected if it rains soon. This is in areas that typically reach 50 to 70 bushels.
Thunder showers reached indiana and Ohio July 18, but despite dropping up to 25 mm farmers say its too late for corn and a lot more will be needed to aid the beans.
Mamatus clouds threaten hail near Oxford, Ohio, while “fired” corn withers”